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Understanding the types of probate

Whether an estate is large or small, the probate process can have a substantial effect upon the administration of an estate. For that reason, it is important that estate holders and their beneficiaries be aware of the process.

There are a few different types of probate that may apply to an estate. Understanding these probate types may aid in the selection of the option that is most beneficial.

Independent administration

As the name indicates, an independent administration process allows an executor to administer the estate independent of the court's oversight. Though the executor must still fulfill a few set requirements of the court, once those requirements are fulfilled the executor may complete the administration process without court input. This allows the probate process to move quicker and carries less of a financial burden. In order for an estate to qualify for independent administration, all heirs and beneficiaries of the estate must agree to such administration. 

Dependent administration

The dependent administration process is the default administration of an estate. The executor must receive approval from the court in all aspects of the probate process. Though this extends the probate process and increases the price, it also provides the heirs and beneficiaries with an assurance of the actions of the executor being in alignment with the proper protocol. In addition, it helps to cover the executor's actions by making sure that the court approves them first.

Exception

In the state of Texas, there is a third probate option called Muniment of Title. An estate beneficiary may seek this probate type when the estate holder has no debt, there is no need for administration of the estate property, and the beneficiary provides the will within four years of the passing of the state holder. In such cases, the beneficiary is able to utilize the estate holder's will as proof of title for property.

The selection of a probate type depends greatly upon the estate type and the desires of the heirs and beneficiaries. If an estate holder has specific desires regarding probate, it may be helpful to include addiitonal documentation and instruction in a full estate plan.

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Mccullough & Mccullough

Serving South Texas For Three Generations

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323 E. Jackson Street
Harlingen, TX 78550

Phone: 956-320-1320
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