Sunday, February 1, 2015

How Long Do I Have To File Probate in Texas?

When a loved one dies it may be difficult to think about all the things that need to be done. 

People handle loss in different ways. For some, it may be comforting to take care of business right away. Other people cannot imagine doing so, and may not be ready to deal with legalities or clean closets for several weeks, months, or even years. 

Texas law states that a will or probate action should occur within four years of death.  

If the four years have passed, it may still be possible or advisable to file in probate court. However, waiting longer than four years may increase the complexity of the case, and may increase the cost as well.  In addition, the probate judge will want to know why the case was not submitted within the four years. Nonetheless, some cases do proceed successfully after the four year deadline. 

When there is property left to be transferred and the four year deadline was not met, there may be other legal options available that are different than the typical probate filing. Some include a court filing and some do not. 

It is best to follow the four year rule. If you have already missed that deadline and still have "loose ends"  or property that needs to be transferred, have a consult with a wills and probate lawyer so that you can understand all of the options available to you. 

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