As part of a will, an individual can name the person who will represent his or her estate during a Texas probate proceeding. However, there is a chance that the executor will die before the person who created the will does. There is also a chance that the appointed representative won’t want the job when it comes time to settle a deceased person’s affairs. Without an executor, there is no guarantee that a will is filed in a timely manner.
However, state law does generally require anyone who is in possession of a will to file it within three months of a person’s death. A person who willfully fails to file a will within that period of time could be vulnerable to a lawsuit from anyone who was financially harmed by that individual’s negligence. Criminal penalties may be imposed upon those who willfully conceal such a document in an effort to benefit financially.
It is important to note that filing a will doesn’t mean that a probate case will be opened. For instance, probate may not be needed if an estate is insolvent since there is little or nothing creditors can do to get the money that they are owed. If a person had a small estate, it may be possible to conduct a transfer by affidavit as opposed to going through a traditional probate process.
Generally speaking, probate provides an opportunity to determine if a will is valid and allow interested parties to challenge it. It may also provide an opportunity for creditors to make claims against an estate. Those who are interested in learning more about probate may want to speak with an attorney. An attorney may talk more about trusts, beneficiary designations or other tools that may allow a person to bypass it.