Probate procedures when someone dies intestate in Texas

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Probate |

When someone dies without a will, they die intestate. Texas laws then determine how to distribute their assets.

This involves several steps to ensure that the decedent’s property gets distributed fairly among the surviving family members.

Understanding intestate succession

In Texas, the estate of someone who dies intestate follows a specific order of inheritance. If the decedent has a surviving spouse and children, the estate typically gets divided among them. The exact distribution depends on whether the children are from the current marriage or a previous one. If there is no spouse or children, the estate goes to other relatives, such as parents, siblings and extended family members.

Initiating probate

Probate is the legal process for settling an estate after someone dies. A family member or interested party files a petition with the probate court to start the process. The court appoints an administrator to manage the estate.

Role of the administrator

The administrator has significant responsibilities. They must gather all of the decedent’s assets, which may include bank accounts, real estate, personal property and investments. The administrator creates an inventory of these assets and determines their value. They also pay off any debts and taxes the decedent owed. This might involve selling assets if there is not enough cash in the estate.

Distribution of assets

After paying debts and taxes, the administrator distributes the remaining assets. If there are minor children involved, the court might appoint a guardian to manage their inheritance until they reach adulthood.

Challenges in intestate probate

Intestate probate can become complicated, especially if family members disagree on the distribution of assets. Consulting with a probate attorney can help you work through the process efficiently and ensure all legal requirements are met.

Understanding these procedures helps families manage the complexities of intestate succession in Texas and ensures that the decedent’s estate is handled properly.