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Understanding the steps to open a probate estate can be helpful

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2022 | Estate Planning, Probate |

If you’re opening a probate estate in Texas, it’s easier to go through the process when you understand the steps required to get it completed. Arming yourself with this information is the best way to be prepared.

Locating the will and creating a list of beneficiaries

If a last will and testament has been created, it can help make the process for distributing assets easier to handle. When one is available, it must be located and followed. It will identify the names of individuals receiving the decedent’s assets. These names should be used to compile a list containing the following information:

  • Beneficiary name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Email address

There may be times when a beneficiary is deceased. In this case, an original death certificate must be obtained.

Creating a complete list of the decedent’s assets and liabilities

Making a list of the decedent’s assets is the next up to take when opening a probate estate. The assets listed will likely include the following:

  • Cash
  • Bank accounts
  • Jewelry
  • Investment accounts
  • Furniture
  • Cars and boats
  • Real estate
  • Life insurance policies
  • Business interests and personal effects
  • Collectibles

A list of the decedent’s liabilities should also be created. This list will likely include the following:

  • Mortgages
  • Credit card accounts
  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans
  • All other debts

Completing legal paperwork and providing copies of the probate orders to financial institutions

After a list of the decedent’s assets and liabilities has been created, the legal paperwork required to open a probate estate should be completed and filed. Next, a probate judge will need to review the file.

If no additional information is required, the will or estate will be admitted for probate, and a personal representative will be authorized to act on behalf of the estate. This person will provide letters of testamentary to the financial institutions holding the decedent’s assets. Understanding the steps required to open a probate estate should help make it easier and smoother to go through the process.