In this series of blogs, I am outlining various different types of probates or probate alternatives to settle an estate and their likely costs. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, the cost is predominantly determined by the type of procedure followed. This type of probate is the least expensive formal, court-administered proceeding.
There are several different types of probate where a loved one dies having a Will. The complexity of the proceeding and the cost varies widely depending on which type of probate you can or must use to pass your loved one's estate. The simplest and least expensive type of probate is known as a "muniment of title" proceeding.
What Is Probate As A Muniment Of Title?
This is a simplified form of probate available in Texas if 1) there are no debts of the estate other than liens on real estate and 2) no other administration of the estate is required. This probate allows passage of assets to the named beneficiaries in a Will simply by filing the Will with the probate court, accompanied by the proof of death and that there are no debts of the estate other than liens on real estate, and having the court sign an order admitting the Will to probate.
All that is required in a muniment of title proceeding is:
- Filing the application
- Obtaining the required service of citation
- Appearance at a hearing for the judge to sign an order admitting the Will to probate as a muniment of title.
The order serves as authorization to third parties to transfer assets as set out in the Will. No further court action is required for the probate. Certified copies of the Will and order admitting it to probate as a muniment of title may need to be filed in counties other than where the probate action was filed to reflect passage of title to real estate in those other counties.
Generally, nothing more is required from a legal standpoint. Watch my video to learn more about this proceeding.
Cost Of A Probate As A Muniment Of Title
The cost of this type of probate is usually much less than any other form of probate because it is so simple. A full probate involves a great number of steps, filing and fees for publication in the newspaper, and additional expenses. The cost generally runs at least $1,500-$2,000 minimum with fees and expenses. The cost of a full probate can go much higher if the estate is more complicated.
For a muniment of title proceeding, the filing fee with the county clerk is usually about $350-$375. The attorney’s fees to handle the proceeding generally range from about $750-$2,000 depending on the location of the probate, whether the attorney has to travel for the hearing, and other factors. In addition, because the muniment of title proceeding is much simpler, it is a less stressful and shorter way to achieve the desires of your loved one.
Possible Additional Cost
As stated above, if the deceased person owned real estate in counties other than where the probate was filed, certified copies of the probate documents will need to be obtained and filed in each other county. The cost of obtaining the certified copies usually is between $30 and $50, and the cost of filing these copies in each county is likely about the same.
Explore Whether This Type Of Probate Is Appropriate In Your Case
If you are looking at how the estate should be handled if your deceased loved one had a Will, you should explore with your attorney whether the muniment of title proceeding is a good way to go. The cost savings could be substantial versus a full probate, even if it is an independent administration.
If you would like to talk about more about probate or administration of an estate, please call Adair M. Buckner for a free initial consultation.*
*The free consultation does not cover actual review of documents or giving legal advice on a specific situation.
** Please remember that the cost estimates given are only general, ballpark numbers for the Amarillo area and the costs can vary widely depending on many variables in your individual situation.