When an individual dies with a will, Texas law provides three different methods to probate the estate: Dependent Administration, Independent Administration, and Muniment of Title. Each method varies in complexity and requirements, depending on everything from where you live in Texas, how the will was executed, and the requirements of the will itself. Below is a brief description of the three methods of probate in Texas.
Dependent Administration. This is the default probate method in Texas. The probate court supervises the entire probate process: the executor must gain court approval for most actions and must provide the court regular updates by filing required accountings. While providing a higher level of scrutiny helps ensure the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate that the executor has properly completed his duties, this method is also much more time-consuming and expensive than other methods of probate.
Independent Administration. The executor in an independent administration is appointed to serve independently with minimal requirements, and is otherwise free to fulfill his duties without strict court oversight. This method is usually much less time-intensive and less expensive than a typical dependent administration; however, it also provides less protective oversight for the beneficiaries.
Muniment of Title. This is the only method of probate that does not require the appointment of an executor and can generally be accomplished with one court filing; it is also unique to Texas. To qualify for Muniment of Title, the deceased must have left a valid will, and the estate may not have any debts. While this method can be a time and cost-saving measure, its uniqueness can also raise problems for estates with assets outside of Texas.
For more information on which probate process is right for your loved one’s estate, please do not hesitate to contact the Rosenblatt Law Firm with questions.