Do you have to file a will to probate court?

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Do you have to file a will to probate court?

Asked on June 24, 2009 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there is a will, it must be filed with the appropriate probate court.  It's the law.  Unless all property of a decedent is owned in joint tenancy, a beneficiary has been named as in the case of life insurance, or bank accounts have a POD designation, or securities have a TOD designation,  then the will must be filed in court in order for it to be effective to transfer ownership.

As to whether a lawyer is necessary, the answer is not necessarily but depending on the size of the estate it might make things easier.  If the estate is small some property in Texas can pass by mere affidavit, or by a quicker and cheaper simple probate procedure. 


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