Learn How a Will is Probated in Texas

Robert Ray

Independent Executor

The form of probate most familiar to clients is the probate of the will with the appointment of an executor of will. What some refer to as an Executor will. This provides for probate of a will with full administration of the estate by the executor of the will, the person nominated by the Decedent as executor.

The majority of wills filed in Texas contain language similar to the following, “I appoint [Name] to be the Independent Executor of this will to serve without bond. My Independent Executor shall act independently of any court, and I direct that no action shall be had in the county or other probate court in relation to the settlement of my estate other than the probating and recording of this, my Last Will and Testament, and the return of an inventory, appraisement and list of claims of my estate. This language creates an independent administration of the Decedent’s estate pursuant to Tex. Est. Code §401.001 (formerly 145(b) of the TPC.) No specific language is required to make the administration independent. Any language is sufficient if it indicates that the estate administration is to be free of court supervision.

The purpose of an independent administration is to permit the executor to administer the estate and distribute its assets free of judicial supervision with a minimum of cost and delay.

Dependent Executor

If a will does not state that the executor is to be independent, then he will be a dependent executor. A dependent executor is not normally desirable because he must get court approval for everything that he does. This takes time and money. There are situations, however, where an executor might want to be a dependent rather than an independent executor. If there is a conflict among the decedent’s heirs, the executor can protect himself from problems by having a hearing and having the judge rule on everything that he does. This is not normally a problem and most people will want an independent executor.

Time Limits

When the judge signs the order admitting the will to probate, the statute of limitations start to run for those who oppose the will to challenge the will by filing a will contest. If a person is contesting the will, he must contest it within two years of the date the judge admits the will to probate. It is better practice to file a will contest before the hearing where the judge admits the will to probate. You can also file a will contest before someone else even files the will for probate.

With certain exceptions, a will has to be filed for probate within four years of the death of the testator. A will contest must be filed within two years of the date the will was admitted to probate. That is, two years from the date that the judge signed the order admitting the will to probate.

What is Probate in Texas

Another article explains What is Probate in Texas.

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Robert Ray is the Editor and owner of this site. Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

We handle cases throughout Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

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Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
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