If my ex-husband died without a Will but had an adult son, does the son have to apply for a determination of heirship?

And also to apply for a Letter of Testamentary? The assets may be total debt. He also had a grandson, 2 brothers and a sister.

Asked on December 7, 2015 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

What you son can or should do depends on the value of the estate and the total amount of debts associated with the estate.  If the estate and debts are very small, then everything can probably be handled with affidavits of heirship.  If the estate is larger or there are complications with the debts, then the estate may have to be probated.  One purpose of the probate is to put creditors on notice of "if you want payment, jump in now."  If the debtor does not assert their claim after notice of the probate, then they may forfeit their right to seek repayment.  Have your son arrange for a consulation with an attorney in the county where he died.  He'll be able to give you more specifics after learning more about the value of the estate and the local practices of that county.


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