Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be an overwhelming feeling. In addition to trying to process your grief, as the administrator of the estate, you also need to guide your loved one’s estate through the probate process.
Although some estates are relatively simple, others come with complexities, such as multiple wills, beneficiaries who are challenging to track down and disputes about the will. Some of these issues can make probate seem impossible.
Here’s what you should know about Texas probate and what can make the process take longer.
While some parts of probate may take longer than others, filing for probate is an essential first step in the process. In most cases, the State of Texas requires that the application for probate be filed within four years of the date of death.
Taxes and other debts
One of the critical parts of probate is ensuring that the estate can pay any outstanding balances. Often, an estate may have final expenses, including:
- Property taxes
- Medical or assisted living debt
- Consumer or credit card debt
Depending on your loved one’s estate plan, sometimes it can take several weeks or months to track down the debts your loved one may owe. However, resolving past debts is an essential part of the probate process.
Heirs and beneficiaries
After resolving the estate’s debts, it is time to distribute the remaining assets according to your loved one’s will. In some cases, it can be challenging to locate the intended beneficiaries, especially if they did not know they were in the will or your loved one lost contact with them over the years.
Tracking down beneficiaries can be a significant factor in how long the probate process will take. You may find that you need to speak with a professional about how to find your loved one’s friends and relatives.