How to “Probate” an Estate Without an Attorney
Is it possible to probate an estate without an attorney? Under Texas Law, an individual cannot represent another individual, business, estate, trust, or other legal entity without being a licensed attorney. While this is the general rule, most courts will allow an individual to file a muniment of title if that individual is the sole beneficiary under the will.
So, how can an individual “probate” an estate without an attorney? Under certain situations, there are alternatives to probate which allow someone to avoid the court system and still pass property legally to another person. In order to understand if this is possible, you need to understand two types of property…real and personal. Personal property is tangible and intangible movable property (i.e. jewelry, bank accounts, cars, clothing, furniture). Real property is fixed property (i.e. land, buildings).
Personal property generally does not have to be probated unless it is required by a third party. Those parties may be beneficiaries disagreeing to a distribution and need the assistance of the Court to make a fair and equitable distribution or a financial institution which wants a court order to instruct them on the distribution of an account. When a third party demands a probate of an estate, you will need to hire an attorney to represent the executor of the estate. If everyone can come to an agreement, then probate might be avoidable. So, how do you “probate” an estate without an attorney? Agree to distribute the property.
The more common requirement for probating an estate is the distribution of real property. Title companies want to know for certain, if they are going to insure title, that the beneficiary is the proper beneficiary of a deceased person. An easy way to see if it is possible to avoid hiring an attorney is to ask a title company if they will insure the sale of the home without a probate. You can do that on this webpage by filling out the form, and we’ll get back to you with a response.