Probate Attorney: What Are Three Probate Alternatives in Texas?
Probate is the process through which a deceased person’s estate is distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. Real estate can often be a part of the decedent’s estate. Do you know how property is commonly handled during the probate process in Texas?
Previously on the blog, we explained the best ways to avoid probate court. Today, the probate attorneys at the Davidson Law Group specify three common alternatives to probate in Texas.
Small Estate Affidavit
The Small Estate Affidavit is a process that avoids formal probate of a will but must meet certain requirements in order to be used. To be eligible for the administration process, the value of the estate must be $75,000 or less, not including exempt property.
With this method, an heir must file the small estate affidavit with the probate court clerk. After the probate court accepts the affidavit, the judge signs an order approving it, and then the affidavit can be used to distribute the estate to the heirs. For more on this process, contact our probate attorneys.
Judicial Determination of Heirship
When someone dies without leaving a will, the court can conduct a formal Determination of Heirship. During this process, a party will file an application with the court and the court will then appoint an independent attorney to locate and represent any unknown heirs. After the attorney’s investigation, the court will require a hearing where two disinterested witnesses must testify as to the information in the application.
This judicial process can be costly and time-consuming. However, when it’s complete, the court’s declaration will provide clarity as to who is entitled to a share of the decedent’s estate.
Muniment of Title
The Muniment of Title procedure is best used when there is a will and the estate has few assets. The procedure allows the will to be considered as a proof of title to pass property to beneficiaries. Like Small Estate Affidavit, it avoids full probate proceedings, but the process still requires interaction with the probate court.
There are specific requirements for a Muniment of Title to be granted:
- There must be a valid Last Will and Testament of the deceased, which must be proven in court.
- The deceased had no unpaid debts unless the debts are secured by real estate.
- There is no need of administration; no appointment of an executor.
- Medicaid does not have a claim for benefits applied for or received after March 1, 2005.
- The applicant has presented the Will to the court within 4 years of the decedent’s death or can prove that he/she is not in default. This may require notice to be given to all beneficiaries named in the Will.
To learn more about probating a will by muniment of title, seek the advice of our probate attorneys.
Davidson Law Group: The Probate Attorneys You Can Trust
If you have questions about a deceased loved one’s estate, consult with the Texas probate attorneys at the Davidson Law Group. We can help you find which probate proceeding or alternative to probate will work for you. To speak with an experienced probate attorney, contact us today.