How to Get Letters Testamentary in Dallas, Texas

This brief article shares how to get letters testamentary in the Dallas, TX, area.  First things first, though… What is a “Letters Testamentary”?

“Letters testamentary” is actually a document issued by the probate court. It’s not a letter at all!  In Texas, the probate court grants letters testamentary to the executor of the estate after the probate judge has been satisfied that the deceased person’s Last Will and Testaments meets the legal requirements under Texas law. This document lets people know that an estate exists and that the executor named in the Will has been approved by the court. The letters testamentary looks like a certificate from the probate court.


Watch this short video by Texas probate attorney Isaac Shutt: Letters Testamentary – Dallas, TX


Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Letters Testamentary:


Q: What are Letters Testamentary in Texas?

A: Letters Testamentary in Texas refer to a legal document issued by the probate court to the executor of a deceased person’s estate. These letters grant the executor the authority to manage and distribute the assets and affairs of the estate according to the terms of the deceased person’s will.


Q: How can I obtain Letters Testamentary in Texas?

A: To obtain Letters Testamentary in Texas, you need to follow these steps:

1) Hire a Texas probate attorney to file a probate application with the appropriate probate court in the county where the deceased person resided. 

2) Provide the necessary documentation, including the original will, death certificate, and any other required forms.
Pay the filing fees and any other associated costs.

3) Attend a hearing where the probate court will review the application.

4) If approved, the probate court will issue Letters Testamentary, granting you (as the newly appointed executor) the legal authority to administer the estate.


Q: What is the role of an executor in Texas?

A: An executor in Texas is responsible for managing the estate of a deceased person. Their duties may include:

  • Locating and taking inventory of the deceased person’s assets.
  • Paying off debts and taxes owed by the estate.
  • Distributing assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.
  • Handling any legal and financial matters related to the estate.
  • Acting in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.

Q: Who can be appointed as an executor in Texas?

A: In Texas, any competent adult can be named as an executor in a will. This can include a family member, friend, attorney, or even a financial institution. However, it’s important to note that non-residents of Texas may require a co-executor who is a resident of the state.  Also, keep in mind that a will “names” a potential executor, but only the probate court can “appoint” the executor.  That means a person is not really the executor until the probate judge says so!  There are a number of legal qualifications for an executor in Texas.


Q: Are there any qualifications or restrictions for serving as an executor in Texas?

A: While there are no specific qualifications required to serve as an executor in Texas, it’s recommended to choose someone who is responsible, trustworthy, and capable of handling the responsibilities associated with estate administration. It’s also worth noting that individuals convicted of certain crimes or those who have been declared mentally incapacitated by a court are generally disqualified from serving as executors.


Q: How long does it take to receive Letters Testamentary in Texas?

A: The timeframe for receiving Letters Testamentary in Texas can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate, any challenges or disputes, and the probate court’s caseload. Generally, the process can take several weeks to a few months from the time of filing the probate application to receiving the letters.


Q: What happens if there is no will in Texas?

A: If there is no will in Texas, the deceased person’s estate is considered intestate. In such cases, the court will appoint an “administrator” (instead of “executor”) to handle the estate administration. The assets will be distributed according to the State of Texas intestacy laws, which prioritize spouses, children, and other close relatives.


Q: Are Letters Testamentary required for all estates in Texas?

A: Letters Testamentary are not required for all estates in Texas. There may be no administration necessary.  For example, no administration may be necessary if there are few assets and no debts against the Estate.


Q: Can I handle the probate process in Texas without an attorney?

A: While it is possible to handle the probate process in Texas without an attorney, it is highly recommended to seek legal counsel, especially if the estate is complex or if there are potential disputes among beneficiaries. An attorney can provide guidance, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and help navigate the probate process smoothly.  Also, you cannot get letters testamentary without an attorney in Texas.

Please note that the information provided here is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For specific guidance on how to get Letters Testamentary in Texas, it is advisable to consult with an experienced probate attorney or contact the local probate court.




Request Your Consultation

To ask a legal question or get legal help from the Dallas, TX area probate attorneys at Shutt Law Firm, use the online contact form, schedule a Texas trust attorney consultation, or call (214) 302-8197.

Visit for more information on letters testamentary in the Dallas area, letters of administration, how to become independent executor, or how to probate in the Dallas area,, contact the Richardson, TX Probate Attorneys at

Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, Texas, and just South of Plano. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Arapaho Road in Richardson, TX.


You can also call Shutt Law Firm 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 about how to get a revocable trust in Richardson, Texas, more about a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need Dallas Estate Planning Attorneys serving Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, Rockwall, TX, Collin County, Dallas 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 and is believed to be accurate as of the time it was originally prepared, and laws change. If you have a legal question, you should consult a lawyer 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 an attorney at Shutt Law Firm sign an engagement letter.



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