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Reasons a Will Must Be Probated Within Four Years

Reasons a Will Must be Probated within Four Years: the personal representative or executor of the testator must file for probate within a specified period, such as in Texas.

Jasper L. Edwards

State laws provide clear guidelines regarding the distribution of a person's assets after they die. In cases where a will exists, the personal representative or executor of the testator must file for probate within a specified period. 

Reasons a Will Must be probated within Four Years

Filing for probate

In a state like Texas, the executor of the will has four years from the date the testator dies to file for probate. If he or she doesn't file the will within the prescribed period, the laws regarding intestacy will dictate how the assets are to be distributed.

To provide notice to the public

Once the executor of a will files for probate, he or she must wait approximately two weeks before they can have a hearing. The court must provide notice to the public that a particular will was filed for probate. In Texas, state laws require ten business working days or more. 

To provide notice to the creditors

A probate court allows the executor of the will to act on behalf of the estate through Letters Testamentary. Once the administrator receives these official letters from the court, he or she must provide notice to all the estate's creditors before the set period elapses. The executor usually has one month from the time they receive the Letters Testamentary to publish a notice in some of the local newspapers regarding the estate's creditors. 

Providing notice to the beneficiaries

The executor of the will must provide notice to all the relevant beneficiaries within a set time frame. In most cases, once the probate court admits the will into probate, the executor will have 60 days to provide certified written letters to all the beneficiaries mentioned in the will. In addition, after receiving the court's order admitting the will to probate, he or she will have 90 days to file an affidavit stating that they have provided the requisite notice to the will's beneficiaries. 

The entire process

The amount of time taken to probate a will usually varies depending on the complexities of the case. For instance, the size of an estate can increase the probate period. However, in a state like Texas, the entire process must be completed within four years.

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