My husband recently passed away. He has a will that was signed and witnessed. Do I need to file it with the courts?

Asked 12 months ago - Plano, TX

I've gotten mixed advice in regards to filing his will with the courts or anywhere else. The will shouldn't be challenged because the only thing of value he had was our home. Although my name is not on the mortgage we did add it to the deed.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Kendall Shane Cockrell

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am sorry for your loss and realize this is the last thing you want to deal with. However your husband's will is not effective until it is filed for probate. There may, though, be a less costly and easier option than what I call full-blown probate (the granting of letters testamentary). It is called muniment of title. Make sure when you meet with a probate attorney that you discuss this option as well as the possibility of an affidavit of heirship depending on whether or not your husband had children from a previous relationship.

    I do hope this information helps a little. I certainly recommend you meet with a probate attorney soon. There is so much else for you to be concerned with. Hire a professional to take this burden off your plate

  2. Isaac David Shutt

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with the above attorney. The will has no effect until you get an attorney and take the will to court. However, there may be less expensive alternative to full-blown probate. Talk to a dedicated probate attorney in the Collin County area--you might be surprised at how quick and affordable the process is. Also, many attorneys offer a free consultation. At the consultation, you can get the details about the process and the cost.

    DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this answer constitutes legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should consult an... more
  3. Dennis R. Martin


    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First, my condolences on the loss of your husband. You are correct to ask this question as many people believe that just having the Will is enough to pass title. The Will needs to be presented to the court with probate jurisdiction so that it can be admitted to probate and the house transferred to you. There are a number of ways to probate a Will and only an attorney with experience in probate can advise you of which method you will need. There is also a time limit to present the Will to the Court and I would urge you to obtain legal advice sooner rather than later..

  4. Gary T. MacInnis

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My condolences on the loss of your husband. The will that your husband left is going to be very helpful. However, the will does not take effect until until it is filed in court, and a judge files an order admitting the will to probate. You should seek a consultation with an attorney that handles probate cases. Take time to search for bank accounts or life insurance policies in your husbands name. Did your husband own and stocks or bonds? Are there any automobiles that have him listed as an owner on the title? The documentation issued in the probate case can be used to transfer title to all of the other assets, as well as the title to the house.

    No lawyer-client relationship exists. This answer is intended for discussion purposes only. You must obtain legal... more
  5. John Gus Zgourides

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Hire a probate lawyer. You need a lawyer to probate the will, and you cannot pass title to the house without a letter testamentary. You should file the will for probate within four years after his date of death.

    Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me.... more

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