Estate Administration on Death
If there is property that must be transferred to Will beneficiaries or the heirs at law, a probate action must be filed. An independent administration (when there is a well-drafted Will) is far less expensive than a dependent administration (when there is no Will or one that does not provide for independent administration). When someone moves to Texas, it is best to get a new Will because most out-of-state Wills do not have the provisions necessary for efficient and inexpensive administration under Texas law.
A properly drafted, executed and attested Texas Will that provides for independent administration can preserve the assets of an estate. It saves the heirs from literally tens of thousands of dollars in expense, and tremendous time, energy and grief. It is one of the greatest gifts a parent can leave the children. Without a properly drafted, executed and attested Texas Will, the court may first need to determine who are all the heirs of the deceased person's estate. This adds considerable expense to the probate process.
Once the heirs or beneficiaries are determined, the probate judge designates an administrator or executor of the estate — someone who will have the responsibility to pay expenses and creditors, and to collect and distribute the assets of an estate.
The administrator or executor will inventory the estate, including valuing all assets and property, identifying creditors and contacting the heirs of the estate. The executor also pays creditors and liquidates any assets as may be necessary to pay estate expenses and creditors. Finally, the executor will disburse the remaining assets and property to the appropriate heirs.
If a guardianship is appropriate, the court will determine those matters that cannot be properly handled by the person over whose estate the guardianship or conservatorship (called “guardian of the estate” in Texas) has been established. This person is the “ward.” The ward's funds continue to belong to and benefit the ward. The guardian acts on behalf of and for the benefit of the ward, and must promote the ward's best interests. The guardianship is evaluated annually by the court.