FAQ – Probate

How much does it cost to probate a will?

The cost of probating a will varies depending upon the complexity of the estate.  Larger estates, a large number of creditors, difficulty locating beneficiaries, disputes among beneficiaries, and complicated family relationships are examples of factors that could increase the cost of probating a will.

In most cases, I offer clients the option of an hourly rate or a flat fee to handle the probate of their will.  Those fees are determined after a consultation once I have a better idea of the size and complexity of the estate and the amount of work that will be required.

How much does it cost to probate an estate that has no will?

The cost of handling an estate where there is no will is usually higher than the cost of probating an estate with a will.  The actual costs will depend upon the size and complexity of the estate.  Larger estates, the number of creditors, difficulty locating beneficiaries, disputes among beneficiaries, and complicated family relationships are examples of factors that could increase the cost of probate process.  In addition, because there is no will, the probate court will be required to appoint an attorney ad litem and make a determination of heirship of the deceased which is an additional proceeding and cost required by law.

In most cases, I offer clients the option of an hourly rate or a flat fee to handle the probate of their will.  Those fees are determined after a consultation once I have a better idea of the size and complexity of the estate and the amount of work that will be required.

Do you offer free consultations?

Yes, I offer free consultations on probate matters.  To request a consultation, you may call my office or use the form to the right.  I offer both phone consultations and in-person consultations at my office in Tyler, Texas.

What forms of payment do you accept?

I accept cash, check, ACH, and credit card payments in most cases.

Are there different options for probating a will?

Yes, there are several options.  Depending upon the language in a will, the will may be probated as an independent or dependent administration.  In addition, Texas law allows a will to be probated as a muniment of title if the estate qualifies.

What is the difference between a “dependent” and “independent” administration?

The difference comes down to how involved the probate court will be in administering an estate.  An independent administration is largely handled without action by the probate court – usually there are minimal hearings and filings – as the personal representative rarely requires court approval to take action with regard to the estate.  A dependent administration requires that the personal representative seek court approval before taking most actions with regard to the estate.  This means more pleadings, more hearings, and in most cases, more costs.

What is a “muniment of title”?

The muniment of title process is a less formal and quick process for admitting a will to probate if the estate meets certain conditions.   Generally, the process is available if there is no need for administration of the estate and no debts other than those secured by a lien on real property. During a consultation, I will evaluate and explain whether the muniment of title option is available for your particular estate as well as the risks/benefits of choosing that option to probate a will.

Do I have to probate a will?

This can be a complicated question to answer as it requires analyzing more than just your legal obligations.  You may not be legally required to probate a will but it could be that your interests are better served by taking the will to probate.  It will depend upon numerous factors.  For more information I would refer you to this article I wrote on the topic: Am I Required to Probate a Will in Texas?