What Does Probate Actually Mean?

Many times when people are considering their estate plans, they always tell their attorney they want to avoid probate if at all possible.  However, it often seems that very few people actually know what the word Probate actually means.

Probate is the process in which a Court considers whether or not a Will is valid or not.  With proper planning, the probate process is really not as harsh as many believe.  In Texas, probate is divided into two broad types of administrations.  The first, Independent Administration, means without Court supervision, and the second, Dependent Administration, means with Court supervision.

A properly drafted Will provides for Independent Administration, which allows the appointed personal representative or executor to operate with minimal Court interaction.  However, if a person dies without drafting a Will or the Will is contested, often the Court must appoint a Dependent Administrator, whose actions must be approved by the Court at all times.  As one would expect, an Independent Administration is the much more cost effective and less complex way to go.

It is important to make certain your Will clearly states  your last intentions, and do so in the proper manner in order to avoid the more complex and expensive Dependent Administration.  If you have questions regarding the process, please contact the Attorneys at Ford + Bergner LLP for a consultation today.