SharePoint
Offices Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday: All county offices will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 23, and Friday, Nov. 24, for the holiday. This includes parks offices, public works, courts and all other administrative offices. Offices will re-open Monday, Nov. 27.

FAQ

WHAT ARE YOUR PROBATE FILING FEES?

Please refer to the Fee Schedule or call our office at 972-548-6461 for all fee information.

WHAT IS A WILL?

A document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death (Black's Law Dictionary).

WHAT IS A CODICIL?

A supplement or addition to a will, not necessarily disposing of the entire estate but modifying, explaining, or otherwise qualifying the Will in some way. When admitted to probate, the codicil becomes a part of the Will.

A WILL SHOULD BE REVIEWED IF:

  • You get married or divorced;
  • You move to another state;
  • The person named in your Will is Personal Representative has died;
  • A person named in your Will to receive property has died;
  • You change your mind about the provisions in your Will.

WHAT IS A LIVING WILL?

An instrument, signed with the formalities necessary for a will, by which a person states the intention to refuse medical treatment and to release healthcare providers from all liability if the person becomes both terminally ill and unable to communicate such a refusal (Black's Law Dictionary). A Living Will is not filed in Probate, copies are usually provided to physician and hospital.

WHERE SHOULD I KEEP MY WILL?

You should keep the original Will document in a safe place where it will be easy to find after you die. It is a good idea to tell some one where to find your important papers in the event of your death. It is not a good idea to make copies of your will.

Some helpful suggestions:

  • Keep in a fireproof safe at home, or
  • Place in SAFEKEEPING at the County Clerk's Probate Office. There is a one time fee for this service of $5.00. The Will remains secured in a vault until you claim the document or until an authorized person claims it upon your death in order to probate the Will.
  • Place in a SAFE DEPOSIT BOX at a financial institution. When putting your will in a safe deposit box you need to list additional persons that you would like to access your safe deposit box to withdraw your Will for the purpose of distribution of your estate. A Motion and Court Order is required for the will to be removed from the safe deposit box.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN IT SAYS SOMEONE DIED INTESTATE?

INTESTATE is one who has died without a valid will.

WHAT DOES THE TERM PROBATE MEAN?

PROBATE is a process of distributing someone's property after his or her death. It provides an orderly way to transfer real and personal property. The probate process may be used whether someone has left a will or not.

WHAT DOES THE TERM TESTATOR MEAN?

TESTATOR is a person who dies leaving a Will.

WHAT DOES THE TERM DISTRIBUTEE MEAN?

A DISTRIBUTEE is a beneficiary entitled to payment. An heir, one who obtains personal property from the estate of an intestate decedent.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A GUARDIANSHIP?

A court may appoint a guardian with full authority over an incapacitated person or may grant a guardian limited authority over an incapacitated person as indicated by the incapacitated person's actual mental or physical limitations and only as necessary to promote and protect the well-being of the person. If the person is not a minor, the court may not use age as the sole factor in determining whether to appoint a guardian for the person. In creating a guardianship that gives a guardian limited power or authority over an incapacitated person, the court shall design the guardianship to encourage the development or maintenance of maximum self-reliance and independence in the incapacitated person.

WHAT IS A GUARDIAN?

One who has the legal authority and duty to care for another's person or property, because of the other's infancy, incapacity, or disability. A guardian may be appointed either for all purposes or for specific purposes.

WHAT IS A GUARDIAN AD LITEM?

A guardian, usually a lawyer, appointed by the court to appear in a lawsuit on behalf of an incompetent or minor party.

WHAT IS AN INCAPACITATED PERSON?

A person who is impaired by an intoxicant, by mental illness or deficiency, or by physical illness or disability.

WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY?

A Power of Attorney is a written document by which a person legally delegates to someone else a part or all of his/her authority to make legal decisions on certain matters on a short or long-term basis. (A Power of Attorney can not be used in Probate according to Texas Probate Code #485, a Power of Attorney terminates after death.)

CAN A GUARDIAN BE APPOINTED TO HANDLE THE ESTATE AND PERSON?

Yes.

WHEN WOULD A SUCCESSOR GUARDIAN NEED TO BE APPOINTED?

If a guardian dies, resigns, or is removed, the court may, on application and on service of notice as directed by the court, appoint a Successor Guardian. A Successor Guardian has the powers and rights and is subject to all of the duties of the preceding guardian.

WHEN FILING A GUARDIANSHIP, WILL A GUARDIAN BE REQUIRED TO POST A BOND?

Yes, with the exception of:

Texas Probate Code 702, Section (c) in regard to Guardian of the Person
(b) (1) A corporate fiduciary, as defined by Section 601 of the TPC or
(b) (2) A guardianship program operated by a county.

For any other questions, please contact us.