Closing Probate in Texas
The probate process can take some time to complete. It is not uncommon for the probate to be held open for years–and even decades in some cases. But the end goal is to close the probate.
When a Probate Estate Can be Closed
An estate is ready to close when:
- The known debts have been paid to the extent of the probate assets,
- No litigation is pending for the estate,
- The probate assets have been distributed, and
- There is no further need for administration.
There are several ways to close an administration, including:
- Do nothing, which is often referred to as an informal closing.
- Filing a closing report, notice of closing estate, or petition for judicial discharge.
- The court can order the probate closed if there is a demand for an accounting and distribution or a demand for closing is made.
- The court can order the probate closed on its own motion.
Do Nothing, AKA Informal Closing
The informal closing may be preferable if it is likely that there may be newly discovered assets or if the personal representative needs to retain their administration powers for some reason.
It may not be preferable if the personal representative posted a bond that it needs to be released, the parties need a formal record for the closing, or the personal representative desires certainty about their own liability.
A court hearing and final accounting are not required when an informal closing is used. However, to avoid later disagreements, it may be advisable for the personal representative to prepare an informal accounting and provide that to the distributees. A closing memorandum may also be helpful. This memorandum can provide distributees with a history of the facts and transactions with the estate.
The closing report may be preferable if the personal representative posted a bond that needs to be released, they no longer need the powers granted as a personal representative, and they are not concerned about being released from liability.
The closing report must include proof of the distributions.
A court hearing and final accounting are not required when a closing report is used.
Notice of Estate Closing
The notice of estate closing is similar to the closing report; however, any bond the personal representative posted is not released and the estate has to be reopened if new estate assets are discovered.
Petition for Judicial Discharge
The petition for judicial discharge is preferable when the personal representative desires to be released from liability. A court hearing and final accounting are generally required.
Hire an Experienced Probate Attorney
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