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A general overview of the probate process

Though no one wants to have to jump right into complicated legal proceedings right after losing a loved one, probate is a process that is often necessary to settle a recently deceased individual's final affairs. You may understand the importance of the process, and you certainly know that other loved ones are ready to receive their inheritance and bequests, but what does it mean to go through probate?

If your loved one named you as the executor of the estate, you have the obligation of closing the estate. This means that you will need to take numerous steps to take care of any loose ends that the person left behind.

Did your loved one leave a will?

If you know your loved one named you as the executor, it is likely that he or she created a will. Hopefully, you know where to find that document, which is vital to getting the probate process underway. If you have never acted as an executor before, which is likely, you may not know what the proceedings entail, so the following quick rundown of steps may interest you:

  • Open probate by presenting the will to the court for validation.
  • After the court validates the will, send notices to beneficiaries, next of kin, creditors and other interested parties.
  • Take inventory of the remaining property and assess the value of the estate.
  • Pay the estate's outstanding debts and taxes.
  • Close still-open accounts in the decedent's name, such as retirement accounts and bank accounts.
  • Follow the instructions in the will and distribute assets to beneficiaries.

It is important to remember that this list represents the probate process in extremely broad strokes. You will likely have many smaller steps to take for each of these general steps.

It can feel overwhelming

During this time, you will have a lot of obligations to address for the estate while also handling your own personal affairs. You may also have beneficiaries coming to you for information and answers as the probate process moves forward. As a result, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed.

Luckily, you do not have to go through this legal process on your own. Though you are in charge of settling the estate as the executor, you can enlist the help of an experienced Texas attorney. Having legal support could ensure that you take each necessary step to close the estate properly.

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