How Much Court Involvement Is There In The Probate Process?

In Texas, the level of court involvement in the probate process depends on whether there is a dependent or independent administration.

Independent administration

Texas allows independent administration of an estate when the testator provides his or her will that there should be no action in the probate court in the settlement of the estate other than the probating and recording the will and the return of an inventory, appraisement, and the list of claims of his estate.

Independent administration will also be permitted when all beneficiaries agree to an independent administration even though the deceased person dies intestate, or does not expressly authorize an independent administration in his or her will.

Independent administrations usually involve only one court hearing and the filing of an inventory. They account for more than 80 percent of Texas probates.

Dependent administration

Dependent administration, on the other hand, involves a lot more court supervision, and is consequently more time-consuming and expensive. With a dependent administration, a court oversees every aspect of an estate’s administration.

This means that an administrator must post bond, hire appraisers, submit an annual inventory, petition the court for permission to sell property or distribute assets, and file a final report with the court.

There may be good reasons for a dependent administration, such as when there is a high level of distrust between heirs.  But in terms of in terms of minimal court involvement, independent administration is most beneficial.

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