Probating an Estate Without a Will in Texas: A Case Study

Probate law can be complex, particularly when a loved one passes away without leaving a will. In this case study, we explore the legal process for probating an estate without a will. We also consider the challenges that arise when the family members live in another state and provide practical advice on how to navigate the probate process.

Facts & Procedural History

In this case, the decedent passed away without leaving a will. He resided in Bexar County, Texas. The decedent left behind a house, a business, and cash assets without any listed beneficiaries. The client, mother, and sister of the deceased reside in Michigan. The client has one child who is incarcerated in Michigan. The client has been previously married and is now divorced. There is no family conflict, and everyone is in agreement.

Legal Analysis

Under Texas probate law, when a person dies without a will, their assets will be distributed to their heirs according to the rules of intestate succession. In this case, the client, mother, and sister of the decedent are all potential heirs, as they are closely related to the decedent. However, since the client’s child is incarcerated, it is unlikely that they will be entitled to a share of the estate.

The first step in the probate process is to file an application for probate with the Bexar County Probate Court. Since the decedent’s assets include a house, a business, and cash assets, it is likely that the estate will be classified as a “large estate” and will require formal administration. The client or another family member can be appointed as the estate administrator by the court to manage the estate’s affairs, including identifying and valuing the assets, paying off the decedent’s debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs.

Given that the family members reside in Michigan, the probate process may be more complicated. The estate administrator will need to work closely with a Texas probate attorney and may need to travel to Texas for court hearings and to manage the estate’s affairs. The attorney can also help ensure that the probate process complies with both Texas and Michigan laws.

Challenges of Probating an Estate Without a Will

When a loved one passes away without leaving a will, it can be challenging to navigate the probate process. Without a will, it may be difficult to determine who should be appointed as the estate administrator, which assets should be distributed to which heirs, and how the estate should be managed. It is essential to work with an experienced Texas probate attorney who can guide you through the process and help ensure that the deceased’s assets are distributed in accordance with the law.

Tips for Navigating the Probate Process

To navigate the probate process successfully, it is essential to work closely with an experienced Texas probate attorney. The attorney can help you understand the legal requirements for probating an estate, including filing the necessary paperwork, managing the estate’s affairs, and distributing the assets to the heirs. It is also crucial to maintain clear and open communication with all family members to avoid conflicts and ensure that everyone is in agreement.

Do you need help with a probate matter in San Antonio or the surrounding area?  We are San Antonio probate attorneys.  We help clients navigate the probate process.   Call today for a free confidential consultation, (210) 239-8518.

Our San Antonio Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with estate administration. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.


The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.

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