1. County Judge Ronnie McDonald
Alt Phone: 512-332-7201
2. http://texasprobate.com/ - Has very detailed stuff on recent Texas law changes... check it out!
3. No. Nor is it mandatory to engage the services of a plumber, electrician, automatic transmission mechanic or brain surgeon, but somehow, things seem to work out better when you do.
4. Wife and my will are very vanilla with no minor children.
That's what everybody says. And it is never, ever true. Well, hardly ever...
1. The probate judge in Bastrop is the County Court Judge.
2. A will should be self proving, if it is not then additional proof will be required at the hearing in order to prove up the will.
3. Not mandatory, but some courts will not let you probate the will without an attorney and especially if it is not self proven.
The other answer provides the information on the Judge. Regarding your other questions, I will respond.
Your will should be self proving, but it is not required. The purpose of a self-proved will is it makes the probate of the will easier in that not as much testimony is required (the affidavit operates as testimony to certain facts), and limits the witnesses who would need to be present at the hearing.
Courts are split as to whether you must have an attorney for probating a will. In Dallas (and almost all counties in which there is a statutory probate court), the Judges view the estate as an entity which cannot be represented pro se. If that is the case, then you would have to have an attorney. However, even those courts usually provide an exception if you are not seeking to have an executor or administrator appointed (i.e. if you probated the will as a muniment of title only). I cannot speak to the procedure utilized by the Bastrop County judge, but my experience is that smaller counties usually do not follow that same reasoning and will allow you to represent yourself. However, as the other response notes, it is not advisable to try and handle a probate by yourself.
The information contained in this response is provided as a service and does not constitute legal advice. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.