What is Probate and How Does it Work?
By: Clint Crawford
Probate is the legal process by which a court oversees the distribution of a deceased person's assets. This process includes verifying the validity of the deceased person's will (if one exists), paying any debts or taxes owed by the estate, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will or, if there is no will, according to the laws of the state where the deceased person lived.
The court appoints an executor or personal representative to manage the probate process, and they are responsible for carrying out the will's instructions and ensuring that the assets are distributed according to the law.
What is the Role of an Executor in Probate?
The executor or personal representative is the person named in the deceased person's will (or appointed by the court if there is no will) to manage the probate process and carry out the will's instructions. The role of the executor in probate includes:
- Gathering and inventorying the deceased person's assets
- Paying any debts or taxes owed by the estate
- Filing the necessary legal documents with the court
- Notifying beneficiaries and other interested parties about the probate process
- Representing the estate in court proceedings
- Distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries according to the instructions of the will or state law
It is important to note that the role of the executor is a fiduciary one, which means that the executor has a legal duty to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries and to manage the estate's assets carefully and responsibly.
Is a Probate Always Required in Texas?
Probate is not always required. It depends on the nature and value of the assets of the deceased person's estate. Probate is required when the deceased person owns assets in their name that do not have a beneficiary designation or rights of survivorship.
If the deceased person's assets are not jointly owned or have a "pay on death" (POD) or "transfer on death" (TOD) designation, probate may be required. However, if the deceased person's assets are of a relatively small value, if the assets are held in a trust, or if the assets are jointly owned, then probate may not be necessary.
Texas has laws that allow for simplified or expedited probate procedures for smaller estates, meaning that probate may still be required but is less formal and less time-consuming. It's a good idea to consult with an attorney or financial advisor to understand if probate is required and what steps need to be taken to settle an estate.
Can I Sell My Inherited House During Probate?
Yes, it is possible to sell your inherited house during probate. However, the process can be more complicated than a typical real estate transaction. The executor or personal representative of the estate is responsible for managing the sale of the property. They will need to follow the rules and regulations the probate court sets.
Here are a few steps to remember when selling your house:
- The first step in selling a house during probate is to get the court's approval for the sale.
- The executor files a petition with the court asking for permission to sell the property.
- The court reviews the petition and considers factors such as the property's value, the estate's debts and expenses, and the beneficiaries' needs before making a decision.
- Once the court approves the sale, the executor can list and sell the property.
The sale proceeds will be used to pay off any debts or taxes owed by the estate, and the remaining proceeds will be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the will's instructions or state law.
You Can Sell Your Inherited House As-Is for Cash in Texas
If you need to pay a loved one's debts or taxes during probate and need fast cash, we can help. At DFW Cash for Homes, we buy houses as-is in DFW, Texas. Let us assess your inherited property's current market value and make an offer. You can close in as little as a week. Call 817-881-1957 to get a fast cash offer.