Admission of Wills for Probate
Houston Estate Planning & Probate Lawyers
Probating a will means proving its validity and legitimacy. Although this may seem like a straightforward task, probate creates the potential for many complications, as well as the need to meet certain requirements. This includes having a will admitted for probate before proceedings can begin.
At Hendershot Cowart, P.C. our Houston estate planning and probate attorneys leverage over 100 years of collective experience to guide families and beneficiaries step-by-step through their unique legal journeys – including probate and probate litigation. During what can be difficult and emotionally turbulent times, our team prioritizes close communication with our clients, and the preparation needed to reach positive resolutions.
Discuss an estate planning or probate matter with a Houston lawyer from Hendershot Cowart, P.C. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to request an initial consultation.
Admitting a Will for Probate in Texas
The first step in probating a will is to admit it into the courts. In Texas, this is done through the submission of an application for probate with the probate court – whether it is filed by a surviving spouse, parent, child, or another named individual. Once filed, the will become a public document which can be obtained by anyone.
When applications for probate have been filed, Texas courts adhere to a waiting period (typically a short period of time) before scheduling an initial hearing. This waiting period allows the court to post public notice of the probate application and for contesting of the will, and while it can be relatively quick in smaller counties, it may take longer in larger counties, including Harris County.
During these initial hearings, a probate judge reviews an application in open court, listens to testimony from the proponent of the will, and – when not will contest has been filed, can sign a court order to admit the will for probate. Once an order to admit the will for probate has been signed, the statute of limitations begins to run. This means that the time-limit “clock” begins for anyone to challenge the will.
Probate Time Limits
One of the most time important things to consider when probating a will is that there is a limited amount of time from when the decedent passes away to when the will can be formally admitted for probate. There is also a limited amount of time to contest a will. This time limit, or statute of limitations, begins once an order to admit the will for probate has been signed by the judge. This means anyone who opposes the will and contest it has limited time to do so.
- Admitting a Will – In Texas, the statute of limitations to admit a will for probate is within four years from the date of the decedent’s death. Probate courts may admit wills after the statute of limitations runs out, depending on the circumstances, but there may be additional challenges in the admittance process. This includes applying parties having to prove they were not “in default.”
- Contesting a Will – Under Texas law, any person who wishes to contest a will has two years after the will has been admitted to probate to file a will content. A will contest can be filed prior to any hearing and admission of a will to probate (after an application has been filed and notice posted), as well as before another party files the will for probate.
Our legal team has extensive experience helping clients understand their rights when it comes to the probate process in Texas. Due to the time limits that apply in these cases, we encourage anyone who seeks to admit a will for probate, or contest a will, reach out for legal assistance from our skilled and compassionate team as soon as possible. Ample time ensures time requirements are met, and that your case can be prepared with the meticulous car and attention it deserves.
Houston Probate Attorneys: Step-by-Step Guidance
From preparation and admitting a will for probate to meeting all requirements and navigating any challenges or disputes that arise, the probate process can be an unfamiliar and daunting experience for many. However, with the support of proven estate planning and probate attorneys like those at Hendershot Cowart, P.C., you can receive the step-by-step guidance and advocacy you need to navigate the process and protect your rights and interests when striving for the best possible outcome.
Our legal team has extensive experience with Texas probate cases, and is available to help you learn more about the process, your rights, and getting started. Call (713) 909-7323 orcontact us online to schedule a consultation.