When a person dies intestate, that means without having a valid Will, then in order to distribute their belongings, a person must begin an Administration Proceeding.
In an Administration Proceeding, the initial step is to file a Application to Determine Heirship. Since the person who is now deceased never named the people that they wanted to be their beneficiaries in a Will, the State of Texas will decide under the intestacy laws who is entitled to get what belongings through an Heirship Proceeding. In addition to the paying for the Heirship Proceeding, the applicants also have to for an as litem – a person designated by the Court to find any “unknown heirs” that may exist by virtue of law that a family is unaware exist. This can be very costly and time consuming and can delay the process for several months sometimes.
After the Court has determined by law who the heirs will be, then the applicants can request an Administration be opened to actually conduct a process similar to that of a probate proceeding. If the Court desires, it can make the Administration “dependent” which means that before any assets can be distributed, the person that the Court has placed in charge of the estate must come to Court and get the Court’s permission to do so. This can cause even longer delays and added expenses to an already long process.
If you have a loved on that has passed away without a Will and there is real property or other personal assets of value, please contact us as soon as possible to start the process of your Administration.