the probate process due to the small size of the estate, and the heirs do not dispute any part of the distribution. I have been told that I may be able to file a small estate affidavit, however, the form I have for a small estate affidavit says I need to claim that my mom died intestate. Under Texas law can I still file this affidavit even if my mom did die with a will? Since it is a will that neither executor has any interest in probating unless absolutely necessary.
In addition to what the previous attorney said, Texas Probate Law requires that there be a "necessity for an administration" of the estate. The Texas Probate Code defines that as an estate having two or more debts. If there are no debts and the assets worth $9000 are clearly identifiable and subject to description, you could use the Muniment of Title Avenue. No executor is appointed and the assets are vested in the heirs named in the will. A little more expensive that an SEA and requires a hearing in court.
Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the asnwer was a good answer tab below. Thanks. Mr. Geffen is licensed to practice law throughout the state of Texas with an office in Dallas. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States and is licensed to practice in US Tax Court as well as The Court of Claims. This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.
I am sorry for your loss. In Texas, when a decedent dies with a valid will, the options available are to probate the Will as either: 1. Muniment of Title; 2. Independent Administration; or 3. Dependent Administration*. An experienced probate attorney will walk you through the court process and advise you as to the best choice for the estate. I wish you the best of luck.
*In certain cases, it may be desirous to proceed with a court supervised administration despite the existence of a Will which provides for independent administration. This is especially true where the estate is heavily indebted to numerous creditors. Under a dependent administration, creditors must follow much more specific procedures in order to recover their claims.
I will second Mr. Geffen's response. It appears the Muniment of Title procedure might be best for you. This process--and I'm simplifying this--is a less complicated form of probate. It's basically the easiest option if there is a valid will, short of doing nothing at all. Many attorneys, like me, charge affordable flat-rate fees for handling straightforward Muniment of Title Probate cases. I suggest you contact an attorney for a consultation to find out what it will cost and what's involved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this answer constitutes legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney. Further, nothing in this answer shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until you sign an engagement letter with the Firm. Visit http://www.shuttlawfirm.com or email [email protected] You may also call Mr. Shutt, a Dallas probate attorney and wills attorney, at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed.
To add to the previous answers, if the devisees under the will are the same parties who would be heirs of the estate if your mother died without a will AND there are no unpaid debts, all the heirs could agree in writing NOT to probate the will AND use the small estate affidavit. If your mother passed away in a county that does not require a hearing for a small estate affidavit (which is the case in most counties), this could save you time and costs. That said, it's worth it to have an attorney assist you with the affidavit.
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