Generally speaking, probate is public in the state of Texas. When the application and other documents are filed with the county clerk, they are open for inspection by the public. In most places, the county will provide free online access to these records.
What Types of Records are Public
These records will include an application for probate. This application details the beneficiaries named in the will or, absent a will, the decedent’s family relationships.
Depending on the county, the death certificate may also be filed and publicly available.
Often, an inventory is included in these records. This inventory will list all of the decedents assets and claims at the time of death. The probate attorney may recommend filing an Affidavit in Lieu of an Inventory when there is a need or desire to keep some of the asset and claim information private.
If the probate lasts longer than one year, the personal representative may have to file an annual accounting with the court. This record is also public as it provides a detailed history of the income and expenses for the estate.
Information such as social security numbers and other sensitive information should be redacted from documents that are filed with the county clerk. This includes all but the last three digits of the social security numbers, etc.
If requested, the probate courts can also order records sealed if there is a valid reason for keeping information private. This is not all that common, but it is a possibility.