The probate process can be fairly simple. When a person with a will passes away, probate is the legal process which includes the determination by the Court of the validity of a will, and the confirmation of the person named as the executor in the will. And in cases that are “independent administrations,” once letters testamentary are authorized and issued, the Probate Court normally has very little if any involvement after that time.
To begin the process of obtaining Letters Testamentary, an application to probate a will, along with the original will are filed in a Texas probate court. Once the application is filed, there is a two week waiting period before any hearing on the probate application. If no one comes forward during this waiting period to contest the validity of the will, the Probate Court then conducts a simple hearing. At this hearing, the Probate Judge will make certain factual determinations, based on the testimony of the applicant seeking to be confirmed as executor. These factual determinations include, that the decedent has died, that the Probate Court has jurisdiction to hear this case, that the decedent’s will is valid, and that the person applying to be named executor is not disqualified to act. Usually, this type of hearing lasts only a few minutes. Once the Court makes these determinations, and once the applicant signs the Executor’s Oath, the County Clerk is then authorized to issue Letters Testamentary.
With these Letters Testamentary in hand, the executor is then legally recognized as the person who has the authority to manage the affairs of the decedent’s estate, including collecting the assets of the estate, paying the debts of the estate, and distributing the net estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms set out in the will.