The newest edition to the library’s collection of O’Connor’s books, O’Connor’s Texas Probate Law Handbook, guides the user through the probate process in Texas. The authors begin their book with an overview of Texas probate law and some initial matters that should be considered following a person’s death, including the steps taken after the death, the information that needs to be gathered, gaining access to safe-deposit boxes and personal documents, protecting personal property, and the handling of nonprobate assets. The authors then move onto the nuts and bolts of settling a decedent’s estate, tackling such procedural topics as filing a probate proceeding, opening an administration, and filing and paying any taxes. They detail the rights, duties, and powers of personal representatives and explain how a personal representative administers an estate in a dependent administration and in an independent administration. A chapter is devoted to the legal requirements that a will must satisfy to be admitted to probate. What if there is no will? No worries. The authors spend an entire chapter discussing the laws governing intestate succession. Will contests and alternatives to probate are also addressed in detail.
As is typical with many of the publications from O’Connor’s, the charts are immensely helpful and clarify many of the more confusing issues. These include: determining the appropriate procedure when there is a will and when there is no will, an overview of the intestacy laws, proving proper execution of the will, the personal representative’s duty to file federal tax returns, the priority of payment regarding creditors’ claims, and many more.
If you are looking for a little guidance in handling your next estate administration, come to the Harris County Law Library and have a look at O’Connor’s Texas Probate Law Handbook. You can find it at the reference desk.