Muniment of Title
When someone passes away, they usually own certain property (real estate, bank accounts, jewelry, etc.) referred to as their “estate." The legal process by which the estate of the deceased person is transferred to his or her heirs or beneficiaries is called Probate. One of the major functions of the probate process is to clear title to the assets that are transferred.
If a person passes away in Texas with a properly drafted Will, the estate can be administered with minimal court supervision. The court appoints an executor who is named in the deceased person’s will, and the executor is then responsible for fulfilling the deceased person’s wishes according to his or her Will. This usually means that the executor must give notice to the beneficiaries and creditors of the deceased, and file an inventory and appraisement of the decedent’s assets and a list of claims made towards the estate.
Texas law allows for a streamlined procedure during probate called Muniment of Title. A muniment of title proceeding may be advisable if the decedent had a will, there were no unpaid debts except for debts secured by real estate (e.g. a mortgage), 4 years have not elapsed since the decedent’s death, and there is no need for administration. By this procedure, the court will not appoint an executor. When the court admits the will to probate as muniment of title, it entitles the heirs of the decedent to become owners of the property. It also allows anyone dealing with the estate to transact with the new owners.