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5 Things You Need to Do After Probate is Over

Updated: May 29

Post Probate Actions
After Probate Is Over

Losing a loved one is never easy, and the probate process can be a challenging time for everyone involved. Once probate is over in Texas, you may think that everything is settled and taken care of, but there are still several important steps that you need to take.

There is a lot to consider, so we’ll explore post probate actions in Texas and how a Houston probate lawyer can help you navigate this process with confidence.

Understanding Probate in Texas

Before we dive into what to do after probate is over, it is important to understand what probate is and how it works in Texas.

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process to distribute a deceased person’s assets to their heirs or beneficiaries. The probate process typically involves several steps, including the validation of the will, the appointment of an executor or administrator, the payment of debts and taxes, and the distribution of assets.

How Does Probate Work in Texas?

According to Texas probate law, the probate process is governed by the Texas Estates Code. The process typically begins when the executor or administrator files a petition for probate with the probate court.

The court will then validate the will (if there is one) and appoint an executor (if there is a will) or administrator (if no will) to oversee the distribution of assets. Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the executor or administrator will distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

What to Do After Probate is Over in Texas

Once probate is over, there are several important steps that you need to take to ensure that everything is properly settled.

1. Obtain Certified Copies of the Death Certificate

The first step after probate is to obtain certified copies of the death certificate. You will need these copies to close accounts, transfer assets, and handle other matters related to the deceased person’s estate. You can obtain certified copies of a death certificate from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

2. Review the Will and Trust Documents

After probate, you should review the will and any trust documents to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities as a beneficiary. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s important to consult with a probate attorney who can help you navigate the legal process.

3. Transfer Assets to the Beneficiaries

Once the assets have been distributed, you must transfer them to the beneficiaries. This may involve closing accounts, transferring titles, and other legal processes. It’s important to follow the proper procedures to ensure everything is done legally and ethically.

4. File Estate and Income Tax Returns

After probate, you must file estate and income tax returns for the deceased person’s estate. This includes filing a final income tax return for the deceased person and an estate tax return (if necessary).

If you are unsure how to file these returns, consulting with legal and tax professionals is important.

5. Close the Estate

In Texas, it is not the norm to formally close the estate. If assets are found in the future, it is easy to transfer them to the estate.

Need Help Navigating Post-probate Actions? A Houston Probate Attorney Can Help

Probate can be a complex process, but navigating it successfully with the right guidance is possible. Following these five steps after probate is over in Texas, you can ensure that everything is properly settled and that the deceased person’s wishes are honored.

If you are struggling to understand the post-probate process and what is required of you, Your Legacy Legal Care™ in Houston can help you navigate these steps ethically, legally, and with as little stress as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

FAQ: Post-probate Actions

Do I need an attorney to handle the probate process in Texas?

While having an attorney during and after probate in Texas is not legally required, most all Courts will require you to hire an attorney. A probate attorney can guide and assist throughout the process, ensuring everything is done properly and legally.

What happens If there is no will?

If someone dies intestate (with no will), the probate court will appoint an administrator to oversee the distribution of assets according to Texas intestacy laws. This can be a more complicated process, so it’s important to consult with an attorney if you’re in this situation.

How long does probate take in Texas?

The length of the probate process in Texas can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate and any disputes that arise. It can take several months or even a year or more to complete.

Can beneficiaries contest a will after probate is over?

In some cases, beneficiaries may be legally able to contest a will after probate is over if they believe it was not executed properly or have other legal grounds for contesting it. It’s important to consult an attorney if you are considering contesting a will.

What happens if a beneficiary can’t be located after probate is over?

If a beneficiary can’t be located after probate is over, the assets may be held in the registry of the court until the beneficiary is located. A Houston trusts lawyer can help you create this document and ensure the assets are protected until they can be properly distributed.

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