The probate process establishes the wishes, rights and responsibilities of loved ones as it pertains to heritable property and assets. If your loved one is unable to manage their own affairs due to disability or death, you likely have a probate hearing in the future.
The process does take longer than people often expect, however.
What the process entails
According to the Texas State Law Library, the executor must file a will within four years of the death date so a court can post the will publicly. Then comes a two-week waiting period. After this, the court must validate the will and catalog the assets. Finally, a court or attorneys must identify beneficiaries, contact creditors and resolve disputes before they can release the assets for distribution.
Probate for a simple estate takes at least six months
A lot depends on how many assets your loved one had, and what kind of assets. A simple estate with a paid-off mortgage and no outstanding debts could be successfully probated in six months’ time. The shorter the list of assets and the more they are in good standing, the less time it takes to clear the estate.
Complex estates could take a year or longer
If a will is incomplete or nonexistent and there are multiple nonliquid assets, the probate process could take one year or more. Potential heirs could be waiting a long time with not much control over the timetable. If there are multiple beneficiaries to the estate, sorting out who gets what could be cumbersome.
Trust a legal advocate to guide you through the probate process and make it as quick as it can be.