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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55598
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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My sister passed recently, she had only clothing, books,

Customer Question

my sister passed recently, she had only clothing, books, kitchen items as assets, does her will have to be probated?
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Im sorry. Texas
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: she has $8,000 in the bank which I assume would go to medical bills.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Hi! My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today! It will take me just a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

No, there is no need to probate the will. In Texas, with a very small estate, you can avoid probate by using a Small Estate Affidavit. You can simply distribute the personal possessions pursuant to the will. You can access the bank account by using the Small Estate Affidavit and you can actually use these first to pay funeral expenses before being obligated to use the rest for creditors. :)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am confused now. I've been reading up on probates...most of which I do not understand.....and I read that a person can't do small estate affidavits if the deceased has a will. ??? I'm confused.
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

No worries. Typically, in this situation, because there are no other assets, and if there is no controversy among the beneficiaries, you would do the affidavit as if there was no will because the will has not been filed and there is no disagreement. Rather, you are simply doing this to access the funds to be distributed in the same manner.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
will the banks in Texas accept the affidavit without letters of testamentary or the will?
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Yes.....the Affidavit is in lieu of the Letters of Testamentary. :)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Here in Texas if there's no will then I'd have to get a lawyer to determine if there are other beneficiaries, even though I know she didn't put anyone else on her will. That's what happened with my husband's lack of a will.
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

You don't need a lawyer for this. If there is no will, the person is deemed to have died intestate. The Texas Estates Code sets forth the priority of inheritance. Here is a link to the statutory provision setting forth who is entitled to inherit: