The Probate Application in Texas
After identifying the probate court that can hear the case, the next step is to file the application with the probate court to start the probate process.
The application is the court document that provides the basic information and requests that the personal representative be appointed. The contents of the application differ based on whether the decedent had a will or did not have a will and whether the probate will be handled as a dependent or independent administration.
The Contents of the Application
At a minimum, the application should:
- Identify the decedent.
- State whether there was a will or there was no will.
- State where the decedent’ was domiciled at the time of death.
- State the date of death.
- Identify the property owned at the time of death and the approximate value thereof.
- Identify the decedent’s family relationships (i.e., marriage or divorce status, children, etc.) and heirs and their interests in the estate.
- Provide the name and information for the personal representative.
- State the reason why an administration is needed.
Once complete, the application is filed the the clerk’s office that handles cases from the probate court. The filing is made using one of several electronic filing services.
If there was a will, the original unstapled will should be included with the application. If there are multiple wills or codicils (which are written supplements to wills), they may also need to be included.
If there was no will, a request for a heirship proceeding (described later) should be included. There are several other requirements for the application. The document itself should be prepared by a probate attorney.
Citation and Service
The application must include citation language. The term “citation” means notice to those with an interest in the estate. The clerk will issue the citation. The citation alerts all parties having an interest in the probate to appear in the case if they wish to do so.
The clerk of the probate court then issues a citation to all interested persons of the estate. The citation is served by posting at the county courthouse. The citation must state:
- That the application has been filed,
- The nature of the application,
- The decedent’s name,
- The applicant’s name,
- The time when the court will act on the application, and
- That any person interested in the estate may appear at the time stated in the citation to contest the application.
Notice of the application has to be provided to the heirs. Alternatively, the heirs can file an affidavit with the probate court consenting to the application.
There are a number of rules that have to be considered with citation and service, which your probate attorney can address.
With this background, we can consider how to prove up a will in court.
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