Your will may be filed with a Texas probate court as soon as you pass away. As a general rule, whoever is in possession of the will is required to present it to a judge in a reasonable amount of time. If that individual is unwilling to hand it over voluntarily, it may be possible to compel that person to do so.

Where does probate take place?

Typically, probate takes place in the county or city where you lived prior to your passing. Alternatively, it could take place in a county or city where you owned property. Local or state authorities may be able to help your estate representative determine who has jurisdiction to oversee the settling of your affairs.

Probate may take months or years to complete

It is difficult to predict exactly how long a probate proceeding will last. Typically, the length of a probate case depends on the complexity of your estate as well as whether anyone challenges your will. A legal challenge may take several months or years to resolve. It’s also worth mentioning that state law may mandate that your executor give creditors or other parties several days or weeks to file a claim against your estate.

Several steps must be completed before assets are distributed

In most cases, the executor is required to take an inventory of your assets and notify creditors about a probate proceeding within weeks of your passing. Creditor and other claims must typically be resolved before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. Whatever is left after your final bills are paid and other claims are resolved can then be transferred per the terms of your will.

Generally speaking, it is in your estate’s best interest for a will to be filed as quickly as possible. This can help to ensure that the process ends as soon as possible and that the executor has time to inventory assets and complete other duties as required by law. An estate planning attorney may provide further insight into how the probate process works.