Maybe your parents have stayed in your childhood home, but you pursued a career outside of the state. Perhaps your parents moved down to Texas for a warmer and more comfortable retirement. Whatever the reason, when your parent dies in Texas and you live in another state, you will have to find a way to manage their estate.
If your parent passes away without a last will or estate plan, that can make things significantly more complicated for you as the likely executor. What do you have to do to manage an estate in Texas from elsewhere?
You can likely attend virtual hearings without leaving home
One of the first steps in estate administration when someone dies without a last will is the initiation of probate proceedings. You need to let the Texas Court know that your loved one passed away without an estate plan.
Although this process typically involves a court hearing, probate proceedings have largely been held digitally in recent months. You can potentially attend the hearing without needing to travel or take time off of work.
You will want to understand the rules if someone dies without a will in Texas
It is common for people to pass away without an estate plan, so Texas has laws to help families and the probate courts determine who gets what in lieu of a last will. Intestate succession or how the courts allocate property in the absence of a will focuses on the people with close relationships to the deceased.
Spouses and children have the strongest inheritance rights under intestate succession laws. The rules are different depending on if there is a surviving spouse and whether they are your biological parent or your stepparent. In the absence of a last will, the specific rules on property distribution will determine who gets what from the estate.
Even if you don’t have to go to court, you may have to travel
While you may not need to physically be in Texas to administer an estate, you may need to visit your parent’s property or residence to claim their belongings before their landlord throws them out or to prep a home for sale as part of the probate process.
If you can take time off of work or do your job remotely, it may the simplest for you to travel to Texas for as long as it takes to handle the physical assets and property your parents left behind. Alternatively, you could potentially hire a professional to gather, value and sell some property, while retaining other assets due to their emotional value. You could potentially even arrange to have people place the property in a movable storage pod so that everything arrives at your home for you to sort.
You will need to consider the practical implications of the estate, as well as your obligations as its likely executor and rights as a probable heir.