This three-part blog series discusses the steps of probating a decedent’s will after he or she dies. If you are the decedent’s appointed executor or personal representative, you may be able to gain a cursory understanding of your probate duties during the next several months by reviewing these blog entries.
If you are the personal representative of a decedent who died intestate or without a validly written will, your duties will also include locating the decedent’s heirs. Once you locate any potential heirs, you will have to distribute the decedent’s property according to the Texas intestate succession rules.
To probate your will in Texas, you must present it to a probate court in the county or city where the decedent lived. The decedent’s domicile typically determines probate jurisdiction. You must be able to prove or establish that the decedent’s will meets the minimum statutory requirements of due execution. This means that you must be able to provide information about the two witnesses who signed the will. Unless the decedent executed a holographic or handwritten will, these two witnesses may have to provide testimony as to the decedent’s state of mind at the time he or she signed his or her will. If you have a self-proved will that complies with the Texas Probate Code, you may be able to admit it to probate without having to provide testimony from the decedent’s witnesses. Once the local court admits the will into probate, the next step is the administration of the estate.