Updated: Apr 3, 2019
There are different types of Probate in Texas, depending on if the deceased had a will or not, and the size of the probate estate.
The following types of Probate are available if the deceased had a will.
1. Muniment of Title
2. Letters Testamentary (either independent or dependent)
If there is not a will:
1. Small Estate Affidavit
2. Administration (either independent or dependent)
Muniment of Title is a probate method that is unique to Texas. There is no executor appointed. For a Muniment of Title there needs to be a valid will. Once the Court finds the Will is valid then then it authorizes the transfer of the property of the Estate to beneficiaries under the Will. Further, a Muniment of Title works best for Estates with only real property in them and that are not complex. If an Estate is complex or has debts, then a Muniment is likely not the proper procedure to Probate the Will. The advantge to this type of Probate is the cost goes down, since there is not a lot to do, as compared with Administration or getting Letters Testamentary, if the Estate in question qualifies for it.
Letters Testamentary, are what would be considered the “normal” type of probate or the most common type of Probate when someone passes with a Will. In this type of Probate, you go the Court and asked to be appointed executor and get what are called Letters Testamentary, these allow you to act on behalf of the Estate in your role as executor. This type of Probate can be either dependent or independent, if it is independent after the hearing to qualify as executor there are few things that you must go back to Court for during the Probate. If it is dependent, every action that the executor does must be approved by the Court.
A Small Estate Affidavit can be used if the Probate Estate is small and there was no will. Generally, if an Estate qualifies under the law to be probated using a Small Estate Affidavit, then there is usually no need for a hearing and the Judge will sign the order granting the Small Estate Affidavit.
Administration is the same process as getting Letters Testamentary, except there is no will to appoint executors. Meaning that if the heirs can agree to one, then it will likely be an independent administration, if they cannot the Court will likely order a dependent administration. Other than that, it is a similar process as Letters Testamentary.
Also, please keep in mind this is just a general listing of the most common types of Probate in Texas and the general requirements of them. I did not list an Affidavit of Heirship, as there will be a future blog post solely on it, as there will likely be future posts on each of the different types of Probate listed in this post.
Please get in touch with our office today, at (972) 330-2171 if you have a question about which kind of Probate would be applicable to your situation.
Byron C. Winborne