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Texas Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: TRS does not want to issue retirement funds due to my deceased son who passed away on 9/8/2019.

We already submitted Proof of Heirship but because of the amount TRS says they need a Judgment Declaring Heirship. Texas Government Code which TRS refers to in their letter does not indicate anything regarding a “Judgment”. What can I do?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jan 14, 2021

Hire a local probate lawyer to help you file an Application for Determination of Heirship and Issuance of Letters of Administration. After the hearing, the judge will sign a Judgment Declaring Heirship.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Is the executor of my father’s Will required to let me see it. His only heirs are myself and my sister.
Isaac Shutt
Isaac Shutt answered on Jan 14, 2021

Yes, under Texas Law, the executor must show the beneficiaries must receive a notice after the probate hearing. That notice usually contains a copy of the Will. ALSO, once the will is filed for probate, it's actually public record.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: hi i need a small estate affidateded form or a probate letter
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 7, 2021

A probate attorney can help you with this. To find one near you, click on Find a Lawyer above.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Grandma estate went to probate her grandsons received it all as the will. Now her grandso got a renewal bill for life

For life insurance. The benefices her son that has been in prison and will never get out who gets it?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jan 7, 2021

Being in prison does not negate his being beneficiary of the life insurance -- though it may mean that the state will eventually receive the funds to pay for his room and board.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My dad just passed away a few days ago and his power of attorney will not allow me to have any sentimental items.

the power of attorney isn't related to my dad. Me and my sisters just want maybe one of his t-shirts or something.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jan 4, 2021

The power of the attorney expired with your father. The agent under the Durable Power of Attorney no longer has a whisker of authority.

That said, until a court appoints an executor or, if there was no Will, an administrator to settle your father's estate, neither does anyone else.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: If the deceased had $ in the bank at death and the executor went and withdrew it that day does he have to account for it
Isaac Shutt
Isaac Shutt answered on Dec 28, 2020

If the executor was listed as "joint tenant with right of survivorship," then he/she may be able to legally withdraw those funds and not owe any accounting for the funds. If not, then the executor may have lacked legal authority to withdraw the funds. A good place to start is to find... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Can money due to the beneficiaries be paid out prior to the executor filing the decreased final tax return?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

It is not wise to do so. If the executor pays out funds which are later needed to pay debts, including taxes, the executor must then claw it back even if this involves a lawsuit. Please keep in mind that on average it takes two years to settle an estate. That means that half take longer.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Is there anything that a beneficiary can do to get the executor to show them all the accounting as of now before 15mos?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

While a beneficiary can ask nicely, whatever is presented will necessarily be incomplete and could be very misleading. One should not be surprised to see claims come in a year after the executor was appointed by a court. Similarly the executor cannot file a tax return until the calendar year... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: How do you go about getting the court to cite the executor who hasn't filed the inventory or in lieu of in over 5mos?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

It is not up to a beneficiary or any other individual. The court does this as a matter of course, in due course.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: If the beneficiary was told to make any necessary repairs to the home in order to sell it how do they get reimbursed?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

Anyone can file a claim against the estate. However, in Texas that claim must include the original invoice or a verified copy of it and a notarized affidavit stating that all offsets have been taken. "He said, she said" rarely gets one very far in court.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: If the beneficiary pays for repairs to home to be sold in probate does the executor have to reimburse the beneficiary
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

No. The beneficiary had neither authority nor responsibility to make the repairs. If the beneficiary did so without a valid written contract with the executor (who is to preserve, not enhance, the estate), the beneficiary made a gift.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: What is muniment of title and how do you file it in Tx
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

A "muniment of title" is a defense of title. A Will which was not presented for probate within four years following death, through no fault of the person presenting it (e.g., it was just found), can be probated but only as a muniment of title. That means that a court order admitting the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: What if neither the inventory or in lieu of was filed with the probate court in TX and it's been 5mos
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

In due time the Court will issue an Order to Show Cause to the executor and the executor's attorney.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Does an executor in Texas have to file either an inventory of the estate or an in lieu of inventory with the court ?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

Yes. This is due within 90 days following appointment. Please note that it is an inventory of what the estate owns. It does not address what the estate might owe. It does not address out-of-state real property or anything which may pass to a designated beneficiary (such as a bank account held... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Is an executor in Texas required to furnish the beneficiaries with anything prior to the final accounting.

Looking to get clarification on how executor has spent bank account funds of decedent since her death and if all known debts were actually paid.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 28, 2020

In Texas beneficiaries are entitled to ask the executor for an accounting 15 months after the court appoints the executor. The executor has 60 days to present it.

Texas has had independent estate administrations since 1843. In an independent administration, no final accounting need be...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Foreclosure and Probate for Texas on
Q: Recently contacted by an agency regarding surplus funds from my deceased sister's property.

Are those agencies reputable? I'm her only surviving family member, both our parents are deceased. I find nothing noted in our County's surplus listings, nor state listings. How can I verify if there is actual funds? And, do I need to go through the agency who contacted me, or an attorney?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 24, 2020

This is most likely a scam. If there were surplus funds from any source (even a utility deposit) they would, in good time, be deposited with the state comptroller. They could not be accessed until then.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: What can be done to get the deed of the house to be in the husband's name after wife dies? There is no Will.

A woman died, leaving 2 children from past husbands. The location of one of them is known but not the other. Both are adults. She was married to her fifth husband when she died. Her name and his (#5) are on the deed to the house. I believe that Husband gets his half of the house (community... Read more »

Kathy Elizabeth Roux
Kathy Elizabeth Roux answered on Dec 19, 2020

Assuming that the house was the community property of Husband and Wife, then Husband retains his 1/2 undivided interest in the house. The Wife's 2 adult children inherit the Wife's undivided 1/2 interest in the house.

If you file an application to determine heirship, since the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: In TX, if a will is not probated within the 4 yrs required, is the estate/assets then divided equally between the heirs?

Father died 7 yrs ago, only found out about it 2 yrs ago due to the back executor trying to filing the will with the county. I was left 10% of the assets, but since the will was never properly probated, am I entitled to an equal share (25%) since there are 4 heirs?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 17, 2020

No. After four years, a Will is not void. But it can only be used to pass title (to a house or a car for example).

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My fathers will states my sister and I share equally his assets upon his death.

Of the assets to be equally divided, a bank account she has check writing on and a brokerage account she is the sole beneficiary. She was aware they were to be distributed equally. She is the executrix and 8 months later I've not received my half. I'm aware in most cases the... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 11, 2020

Beneficiary designations trump Wills. Financial assets with a beneficiary designation pass outside probate. There is therefore no point in contesting a Will because you disagree with a beneficiary designation.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: If my mom's will says everything to be sold and split between her 4 kids can the executor change that?

There is a house involved, 3 kids want to keep it and the 4th one wants to sell it, is there a way around it without buying the 4th kid out? Maybe a deed of variation???

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Dec 4, 2020

There is no way around it without buying the 4th out if he wants to be bought out: that would be theft. But he can make a deed gifting his interest to the other three if he wants.

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