Probate has gotten a bad reputation as being expensive and causing delays. As a result, many people try to avoid it at all cost.
In many states, that reputation has been well earned. But in Texas, probate is typically nothing to be feared. This is because Texas has one of the most simplified probate processes in the nation.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of proving the validity of a will. Probate is also commonly understood to refer to the legal process in which the estate of a decedent is administered.
During the probate process, the executor or administrator of an estate collects a decedent’s assets, liquidates his liabilities, pays necessary taxes, and distributes property to heirs.
Independent administration saves time and money
Probate is usually equated with court supervision, which is expensive and time-consuming.
However, in Texas, if a testator instructs in his will that there should be no action in the probate court in the settlement of the his estate other than the probating and recording the will and the return of an inventory, appraisement, and the list of claims of his estate, then there will be an independent administration free from court supervision and control.
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 can be expensive and time consuming
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 overseas 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.
In some instances, such was when the heirs don’t trust each other, a dependent administration may make sense. But in terms of time and expense, independent administration most beneficial.
Authorizing independent administration
The easiest way to avoid a dependent administration is to specifically authorize an independent administration in a will. If a person dies without a will, or does not request an independent administration, it is possible for all of the beneficiaries to agree to an independent administration.
However, an independent administration will not be authorized by the court if a testator specifically prohibited an independent administration in his or her will.
Independent administration makes the probate process less cumbersome and expensive. With independent administration, probate is a usually is usually a simple process free from court supervision and control.