LEGAL TIPS:Texas Probate: Questions & Answersby Matt Sullivan, J.D., LL.M.Q: What is probate?A: Probate may be describedas the legal process thatoccurs after someone diesto pay off certain debts andto make sure the decedentsprobate property ends upwith the person or charitythat is entitled to it. In a typical probate case, thereis a court hearing to admit the decedent's Will toprobate or to determine who the decedent's heirs areif the decedent died without a Will.A: Texas Estates Code section 256.001 states inpart, "a Will is not effective to prove title to, or theright to possession of, any property disposed of bythe Will until the Wil is admitted to probate. Thatmeans the beneficiaries named in the Will cannotclaim ownership of the decedents probate propertybased on the provisions in the Will until the Willhas been admitted to probateQ: What if the Decedent's estate can behandled without having the Will admitted toprobate?A: Some decedents only have property thatpasses outside of probate and is referred to as"non-probate" property. In such a situation, thereQ: Can probate be avoided?A: Absolutely. Probate can be avoided throughproper planning and usually involves the use ofmight not be any reason to have the decedentssuch devices as trusts, beneficiary designations, and Will admitted to probate and there is no legalownership with the right of survivorship. Othermethods of probate avoidance exist as wellrequirement to do so if it's unnecessary. There is,however, a legal requirement for the person who isin possession of the decedents Will to deliver it tothe clerk of the court having jurisdiction over thedecedent's estateQ: Must a Will be admitted to probate to belegally effective?Matt Sullivan, J.D, LL.M., Attorney & Counselor at Law, can be reached at 903-482-0099 or through hislaw firm's web site, www.mattsullivanattorney.comThis article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as specific legal advice

Date: February 8, 2018

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LEGAL TIPS: Texas Probate: Questions & Answers by Matt Sullivan, J.D., LL.M. Q: What is probate? A: Probate may be described as the legal process that occurs after someone dies to pay off certain debts and to make sure the decedents probate property ends up with the person or charity that is entitled to it. In a typical probate case, there is a court hearing to admit the decedent's Will to probate or to determine who the decedent's heirs are if the decedent died without a Will. A: Texas Estates Code section 256.001 states in part, "a Will is not effective to prove title to, or the right to possession of, any property disposed of by the Will until the Wil is admitted to probate. That means the beneficiaries named in the Will cannot claim ownership of the decedents probate property based on the provisions in the Will until the Will has been admitted to probate Q: What if the Decedent's estate can be handled without having the Will admitted to probate? A: Some decedents only have property that passes outside of probate and is referred to as "non-probate" property. In such a situation, there Q: Can probate be avoided? A: Absolutely. Probate can be avoided through proper planning and usually involves the use ofmight not be any reason to have the decedents such devices as trusts, beneficiary designations, and Will admitted to probate and there is no legal ownership with the right of survivorship. Other methods of probate avoidance exist as well requirement to do so if it's unnecessary. There is, however, a legal requirement for the person who is in possession of the decedents Will to deliver it to the clerk of the court having jurisdiction over the decedent's estate Q: Must a Will be admitted to probate to be legally effective? Matt Sullivan, J.D, LL.M., Attorney & Counselor at Law, can be reached at 903-482-0099 or through his law firm's web site, www.mattsullivanattorney.com This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as specific legal advice