Does a will have to probated?
It does if you want it to have any legal effect. A will does not go into effect and an executor is not appointed until the will has been admitted to probate and the executor has been appointed in the Judge’s order and has qualified by taking the oath and posting a bond if required. If a will is not admitted to probate then the laws of inheritance apply. This may be different from the will.
If I don’t have a will, does my spouse inherit everything?
Not necessarily. If all of your children are also your spouse’s children, then your spouse inherits your half of the community property. If you have children who are not your spouse’s then all of your children inherit your half of the community property. Separate personal property passes 2/3 to your children and 1/3 to your spouse. Separate real property passes 2/3 to your children and a life estate in 1/3 to your spouse with a remainder to your children.
Isn’t probate really complicated and expensive?
Texas law provides for independent administration, that is to say administration without the requirement of prior court approval of the acts of the independent executor or administrator. If there are no contested matters then an independent administration need not be complicated or expensive.
I want to avoid probate, how can I do that?
If ownership of all property passes under the terms of a trust which owns the property, or passes by a beneficiary designation or by a right of survivorship or payable on death designation and there are no debts, a probate will probably not be necessary.
What are the requirements for a legal will?
A will must be in writing, signed by the person making the will and signed by two witnesses who are 14 years of age or older. Or a will must be entirely in the handwriting of the person making the will and signed by him or her.