In Texas, probate can be a difficult aspect of the law, especially in the aftermath of the death of a loved one. In some cases, people might want to use a simplified process if the situation calls for it. The Lone Star State has its own unique type of simplified probate called “muniment of title.”
In general, it means that a deceased person had a will and there was neither an administrator nor executor. The court can then move forward with ensuring that the will was in fact the document completed by the decedent and transfer the person’s property. Although it is meant to be a simplified process and sounds relatively straightforward, there are important points to remember based on the law.
Basics of a Muniment of Title
There are fundamental requirements for the Muniment of Title to be authorized in Texas. The court will want proof that the estate did not owe debt except debt that was a lien for real estate. Or it must find that the administration of the estate is not needed.
In some instances, the will is not produced. If a Muniment of Title is being used without the will, the court will have other requirements that must be met. The person applying for it must state why they cannot produce the will; the will’s contents – as far as they are known – should be disclosed; and their personal information along with those who are receiving anything from the will as stated and people who would be entitled to a share if there is no valid will.
When applying for probate under muniment of title, the person must do the following: prove that the testator has died; make the request within four years from the person’s death to the muniment of title; show it is the correct court based on jurisdiction and venue; prove there is no unpaid debt apart from a real estate lien; show that the will had not been revoked; and if it is self-proved, prove that it was valid and adhered to the basics of the law as far as sound mind, age, marital history and military service record.
Understanding probate and Muniment of Title
People might not be aware that Muniment of Title is an option. Since it can be a complex area of the law and people might be confused, it is important to have professional guidance when using it. For this and other probate issues and potential probate litigation, consulting with those experienced in these matters can help with smoothing the process.