When your mother suddenly fell ill and passed away, it was a shock to you and to your whole family. You weren’t sure how to handle her estate, either, because to your knowledge, she had never made a will.
When someone dies without a will, the estate is called an intestate estate. This estate has to be handled in accordance with the state laws that guide the way the estate is distributed instead of being distributed based on a will.
What do you do to get the probate process started?
If you would like to get the process of handling your loved one’s estate started, the first thing to do is to inform the court of their passing. In Texas, there is established legal code that explains how to distribute the assets that remain in the estate if no instructions were left behind.
You should know that it’s typical for the closest family members to have the strongest claims. For example, your mother’s spouse would be closer than a child, parent, sibling or other family member.
The goal of the state’s succession laws is to help spouses and children receive assets from a parent or partner’s estate, so as the child of someone who has passed, you should be entitled to some portion of the estate once debts have been paid. Unfortunately, you will need to have the estate go through probate, which may take longer than if your mother had a will at the time of her death.
Will you need an attorney during the probate process?
It usually is a good idea to work with someone who is familiar with the probate process. If your mother had an attorney, the attorney you hire can contact them to be sure that no will exists or that there aren’t other estate planning measures that have been taken.
They can also help you report your mother’s passing to the court and start the probate process when it’s needed. That way, you can be sure that it is being handled correctly and that your mother’s estate will be distributed appropriately by law.