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If you’ve just lost a loved one, their estate may need to go through the probate process to transfer their assets to their heirs. Many times, the process can be mitigated or avoided entirely.

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Different types of probate.

The two main types of probate are called independent administration and dependent administration. In an independent administration, the Will is presented to the probate court, the person in charge of the will gives testimony, and the judge signs an order giving your executor full authority over your estate. Your executor doesn’t have to go back to court or ask permission for most actions. Of course, independent administrations are the much easier and less expensive option. In a dependent administration, your executor must be supervised by the court at every step. There will be frequent hearings and visits to the courthouse. Selling a house, closing bank accounts, collecting investments, and distributing assets all require an in-person visit with the judge. Fortunately, dependent administrations can be avoided with properly drafted estate planning documents or the agreement of all your heirs. However, it’s impossible to predict whether a judge will allow an independent administration if there’s something wrong with your estate plan. For more information on probate in Texas, a free consultation with a probate lawyer is your next step. Get the information and legal advice you need by calling Hunter Sargent, PLLC at (940) 594-7754.
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What is probate?

Probate is a court-controlled process for transferring assets from someone who died (the decedent) to the decedent’s beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are the people or organizations listed in the decedent’s Will. When the decedent dies with a Will, we refer to this as dying “testate”. If the decedent died without a Will (intestate), then the decedent’s beneficiaries will be determined by Texas law. Usually, Texas law grants the estate to those closest on the decedent’s family tree – spouse, children, etc. This means that without a Will, your assets could pass to your crazy Uncle that you haven’t talked to in twenty years. During probate, everything in your Will, everyone you leave property to, and everything you own will be made public record searchable by anybody with an internet connection.
The person in charge of your Will must testify in front of a judge at least once before your Will is legally effective. Do you want your spouse or children to answer questions from a judge after they just lost a loved one? This means just having a Will – even though every person should have a Will as a backup — is usually a bad strategy for your estate plan.


Probate is a legal procedure that handles the transition of assets after a person’s death. Hunter Sargent, PLLC can suggest alternatives that will bypass the probate process, transfer your legacy with efficiency, and protect it against any claims. Learn more about our probate services below.

A Will is a one-way ticket to probate.

Some lawyers love probate because it makes them a lot of money and they get to go to court. However, probate should be avoided if possible (with very limited exceptions for special needs spouses). Probate in Texas is expensive (it usually costs more than probate alternatives), slow, and very public. In Texas, a Will is not effective until it is probated. That means your Will must go through the entire probate process or your legacy will be out of your hands. Proper estate planning prepared by an estate planning lawyer allows your beneficiaries to inherit your legacy without the cost and headache of the probate courts.

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The best time to plan your legacy was 10 years ago. The next best time is today. Everyone needs estate planning - the good news is it's never too early and if you're reading this, it's not too late.

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    While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. Any communication with Hunter Sargent, PLLC via e-mail or through this website does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship and is not privileged or confidential.