Under Texas Law, paperwork to begin probate of a valid Will must be filed in the court no later than four (4) years after the death of the testator. The period following a loved one’s death can be a stressful and extremely emotional time for the family members, and it may not be possible nor feasible to get the paperwork filed within the four-year time limit.
Solution for not Probating after 4 Years of Death
Fortunately, there is a solution if this situation arises and a testator’s Will is not admitted to probate within four years of his or her death. If more than four years have passed since the testator’s death, the testator died with a valid Will, and there is no need for a formal administration of the testator’s estate—the beneficiaries (i.e., “devisees”) may file the Will for probate as a Muniment of Title.
How Muniment of Title Works
A court may admit a Will to probate as a Muniment of Title if the court is satisfied that: (a) there are no unpaid debts owed by the testator’s estate, other than debts secured by a lien on real estate; or, (b) the court finds for some other reason that there is no need for formal administration of the estate. Tex. Estates Code § 257.001.
Regardless of the size, nature, value, or extent of the testator’s estate, this procedure is generally available for any estate that meets the above-mentioned requirements. Even for estates with a larger value, probating a Will as a Muniment of Title is a quicker, easier, and more convenient way to get the testator’s assets distributed to those people who are entitled to them.
Contact an experienced Estate Planning Attorney in order to ensure that your home is protected and to provide your spouse and your family with peace of mind in that they will be able to keep your family home in the event of the unexpected happening.