If you have been named the executor of someone's estate, you probably feel honored and bewildered at the same time. What are you required to do under Texas law? How long do you have to discharge your duties? What sort of oversight do you need? At Perry, Shields, Campbell & Floyd, PLLC, our attorneys can guide you through the estate administration process, including out-of-state probate administration.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the process by which a court legally validates a person's will, which must occur within four years of their death according to Texas law. After the court has established that the will is valid and correct, the executor may go about discharging their duties. This typically involves:

  • Collecting the assets of the deceased person
  • Paying or settling any outstanding debts using the estate's assets
  • Paying all relevant taxes using the estate's assets
  • Identifying heirs (only applies if no will exists)
  • Undertaking the division of assets to the heirs and other appropriate parties

Probate In Texas: Different Kinds

Estate executors often worry about court oversight requirements when performing their duties. However, there are different kinds of probate in Texas that have differing levels of court involvement.

  • Independent Administration
    Texas wills often stipulate that executors should pursue independent administration, which is a streamlined version of the probate process. This means that the executor does not have to post a bond, nor do they have to ask the court's permission before paying debts, selling property, distributing assets, or other numerous tasks. Even if a will does not explicitly provide for independent administrations, courts will often grant them if all of the beneficiaries agree.
  • Dependent Administration
    In this version of the probate process, the court is much more involved in each step of estate administration. This is less common, but some wills specifically request it.

Representing Your Interests

In some cases, you may want to ensure that your financial interests are protected in a probate process. We provide robust representation in the event of a contested will or other probate litigation. If you have any reason to doubt the impartiality of a probate process, our experienced lawyers will work to ensure that the proceedings are fair.


If you have questions about estate administration, contact us through our online form or by phone: 713-955-3102.

We have offices in both Houston, Midland, Austin, and San Antonio.