Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

How long is the probate process with a valid will in Texas?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | probate administration

When a loved one passes away, surviving family members may have the responsibility of handling the estate of the deceased. If the person who passed away created a will before they passed, the will must be submitted to the court for validation. Generally, under Texas Code Sec. 256.003, you, as executor, will have four years from the date of the decedent’s passing to apply for probate.

How long is the probate process?

The length of the probate process can vary depending on the complexity of the decedent’s estate. Other factors that may shorten or extend the process include:

  • Whether the estate was large or small
  • The existence of an uncontested self-proving affidavit with the will
  • Whether the validity of the will is being questioned
  • Whether any part of the estate can be excluded from probate
  • Real estate or tax issues

Generally, however, the probate process can take anywhere from three months to over one year to complete.

How does the probate process work if there is a will?

Once you have filed for probate, the county clerk will post a public notice to let potential heirs know about the petition for probate. These potential heirs then have the option to challenge the will.

If the will is not challenged, the court will likely confirm its validity at a hearing and grant you executor powers. As executor, you will then have to inventory the assets in the decedent’s estate within 90 days, contact named beneficiaries, notify creditors, and pay off debts. If there are any disputes or grievances, they must be resolved.

You will then have three years to distribute any remaining assets once the decedent’s debts have been paid off and all disputes have been addressed.