Found Will in Texas? What can you do?
Is an old will any good in Texas?
Under Texas law, a will must go to court to be probated within four years. So, if someone passes away, make an effort to take the person’s will to court sooner rather than later (if there is a will).
After four years, is the will useless?
No, an old will is not useless in Texas. Even though a Texas will should be probated within four years, if you discover a will after four years, Texas law does provide a remedy.
Under the Texas Estates Code, there are ways around the general four-year restriction. Most commonly, the will can be probated in probate court “as a Muniment of Title only.” This means that the will merely establishes who should inherit the property–but stops short of legally opening an Estate Administration.
In other words, for example, if a will states that the deceased person’s two daughters should inherit everything equally and that one daughter should be the Executor, the court could legally establish that the two daughters shall inherit everything 50/50. However, the part about the Executor is less important because, with Muniment of Title, there will be no estate administration for an executor to oversee.
The moral of the story is this:
If you find a will in Texas more than four years after a person’s death: Consider finding a probate attorney to have the will probated as a “muniment of title.” The will is probably still valid for legally establishing who shall inherit under the terms of the will.
If you have a will for someone who died within the past four years: Consider finding a probate lawyer to have the will probated within the ordinary four-year guidelines. The “normal” process is generally easier and more affordable. If you’re on the fence about having the will probated, talk with a probate attorney anyway. The lawyer can explain the pros, cons, costs, and timeline for having the will probated in your case.
Either way–consult with a probate attorney: If you’re listed as a beneficiary in a will and you possess the will, talk with an attorney. You don’t want to lose your inheritance rights because others aren’t aware of the will. If the will is not probated, others may assume no will exists, and they may argue that the Texas laws of intestacy apply. You probably don’t want to risk the chance of your inheritance going to other people, so get the will probated to establish your inheritance rights.
To ask a legal question or get legal help from Texas wills and probate attorney 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, TX- the attorney will gladly offer a free consultation.
Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on what to do with a found will in Texas, what to do if you discover an old will near Dallas, TX, probate as Muniment of Title, how to get your Texas inheritance around Collin County, TX, Dallas Letters Testamentary or Collin County Letters Testamentary, contact Richardson, Texas Probate Attorney Isaac Shutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, TX and just South of Plano, TX. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, TX.
You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter. For existing clients, quick phone-calls and brief e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you need letters testamentary, how to serve as executor in Texas, how to probate in Dallas County Probate Courts or the Collin County Probate Court, a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need Dallas Probate 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.
By Isaac Shutt