Do I have to probate a Will in Texas after someone passes away?  No, you don’t have to probate the Will after someone dies in Texas, though you may want to probate the Will.



No Legal Requirement That You Have to Probate Will in Texas

What do you do if a family member or friend dies in Texas, and you have the deceased person’s Last Will and Testament?  There is no legal requirement to hire a probate attorney to probate the Will.  However, you must at least “surrender” the Will to the probate court.  In fact, the Texas Estates Code states, “the person who has custody of the testator’s will shall deliver the will to the clerk of the court that has jurisdiction of the testator’s estate.”  By the way, the “testator” is the deceased person, and “shall” means must.


Legally Required to Give the Will to the Court

So, if you don’t have a legal obligation to probate a Will in Texas, why are you legally required to take the Will to probate court?  Because the Will may impact people other than you.  In other words, even if you don’t see a need to probate the Will, other people may see a need.  For example, there could be other heirs or creditors who need to know what the Will says.


Why might I Want to Probate a Will in Texas?

After a family member passes away, you might not immediately see the need to probate the Will.  However, if the deceased person owned a bank account, retirement account, car, real estate, or anything else with a title that needs to be transferred–then, you’ll probably want to probate the Will.  If you don’t probate, all the property stays in the name of the deceased person.

People often ask me, “If I’m the surviving spouse and the Will gives everything to me, doesn’t everything come to me automatically?”  No, not automatically.  The will still has to go to court to be probated.  A Will in Texas has no legal power until it has been probated.

People also often say, “Wait, I thought the whole purpose of having a Will in Texas was to avoid probate.” 

Actually, it’s just the opposite.  If a person dies with a valid Texas Last Will and Testament, you get to probate.  Not everyone is so fortunate.  Many Texans die without a Will, which means the State of Texas default laws (“laws of intestate succession”) govern who will inherit from you.


I Can’t Decide If I Need to Probate or Not

If you read this article and still can’t decide whether or not you need to probate a Will in Texas, just call a local probate attorney to talk about your specific situation.  Many probate attorneys, like me, offer a free probate consultation.  At the free probate consultation, I’ll ask a series of questions to help you decide whether or not probate is really necessary.  I’ll also tell you the exact cost to probate a will in Texas since we often use flat-rate probate attorney fees.  After your free consultation, you’ll be able to decide for certain whether or not to probate the Will.



Free Consultation

To ask a legal question or get legal help from Texas Wills and probate lawyer Isaac Shutt, use the online contact form to the right or call (214) 302-8197. If you prefer to meet at the office in person in Richardson, Texas – the attorney will gladly offer a free consultation.

Visit for more information on probating a Will in Texas, whether or not to probate a Texas Will, whether or not you’re legally required to probate in Texas, what to do if you don’t need to probate a will, or anything else related to the probate of a Texas Will, contact Richardson, TX Wills Attorney Isaac Shutt at

Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, TX and just South of Plano, Texas. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, TX.  Shutt Law Firm performs probate in Dallas County, Probate in Collin County, Probate in Tarrant County, and Probate in Denton County.


You can also call Probate Attorney Isaac Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter. 

Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you want to know “how much does a living trust cost in Texas?”, more about Texas trusts, revocable trusts, a Texas Last Will and Testament, or if you need Dallas Estate Attorneys serving Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, TX, Collin County, or surrounding North Texas area.


DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and attorney Isaac Shutt sign an engagement letter with the Shutt Law Firm, PLLC.

Probate Attorney, Wills Lawyer, and Guardianship Attorney By Isaac Shutt