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STANDING ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS AND APPLICATIONS

Note: The Standing Administrative Order required CLE, “Practicing Probate in County Court at Law No. 1 & County Court at Law No. 2” is held in February of each year. This year the CLE will be held on February 20, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. in County Court at Law No. 1. Please contact the Court for additional information.

PROBATE SCHEDULE

UNCONTESTED probate dockets are heard on designated Monday mornings at 10:30 AM.
CONTESTED MATTERS are set heard on designated Monday mornings at 9:00 AM. Hearings that are anticipated to last more than 1 1/2 hours are set by appointment.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

PRO SE POLICY

CIVIL CASE INFORMATION SHEET
The Court will not hear a case until a Civil Case Information Sheet has been on file at least one week prior to the scheduled hearing date.

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET
A Personal Representative General Information Sheet needs to be completed for all persons that are appointed in a fiduciary role (Executor, Administrator, Guardian). If multiple persons are appointed in case, a form needs to be completed for each individual.

Please return all completed forms directly to the Court. This can be accomplished via mail, facsimile, email at  Anita.Ayala@fortbendcountytx.gov,  or given to the Probate Auditor at the time of hearing. 

UNCONTESTED DOCKET

Proposed Orders and/or Judgments: It is the Court’s policy to review – before the hearing – all documents for an uncontested probate matter. We must receive the proposed Orders and Judgements no later than 10:00 a.m. on the Monday the week before the scheduled hearing or the hearing is subject to cancellation. At its discretion, the Court may postpone or cancel a hearing if an attorney fails to comply with posted guidelines for uncontested docket paperwork. By reviewing the documents before the hearing, the Court can ensure that hearings go more smoothly for participants who are already dealing with the stress of someone’s death.

  • Where to email documents to Court: After the hearing is set, email proposed Orders and/or Judgements. Please include the hearing date in the email.
  • E-filing of all Ancillary Documents: Applicants on the uncontested docket must have all necessary filings completed at least one week prior to the docket. This means that everything except the proposed orders/judgments, testimony, and oaths that will be signed at the hearing. Failure to do so may result in removal from the docket.
  • Testimony via Deposition on Written Questions/Posted Notice Requirement: Applicants on the uncontested docket wishing to submit testimony via deposition on written questions must file the deposition response(s) at least one week prior to the docket.
  • Court’s Policy on the use of Interpreters: If a client or witness cannot communicate in English during a hearing, whether due to hearing impairment or inability to speak and/or comprehend the English language, then you must procure the services of a state-certified interpreter as defined by Government Code §57.001. The Court does not provide interpreters.

SMALL ESTATE AFFIDAVITS

MUNIMENT OF TITLE PROCEEDINGS

  1. Medicaid Estate Recovery Program: See the Court’s policy on Muniments of Title and Medicaid Benefits [PDF]
  2. Probating a Will more than Four Years after the Death of the Testator:

INDEPENDENT ADMINISTRATIONS – WILLS

Important Information

  • Exact names and aliases: The Court requires all pleadings to begin with the exact names as they appear in the Will for the Decedent and Executor, even if the person is now known by another name. The exact name can be followed by the “now known as” name – or any other a/k/a or f/k/a name.
  • Alternate Executor: If anyone other than the first-named executor in the Will is being appointed, be sure to include the name of the first-named executor and why he or she cannot serve. Be sure to do the same for all other named executors who will not serve but who have priority over the executor(s) who will serve. This information needs to be included in the application and in the findings section of the order.
  • Probating Codicils: Reference “Codicil” in the title of all document(s) as well as in the body.
  • Probating a Will that is not Self-Proved and/or a Holographic Will:
    • The Court requires all necessary witnesses to be present in Court to give testimony.
    • Additionally, all witness testimony shall be reduced to writing.
  • Probating a Copy of a Will or Codicil or a Lost Will or Codicil:

    DEPENDENT ADMINISTRATIONS
    The Court will require a dependent administration if a decedent dies intestate and any heirs are minors, unless extraordinary circumstances are brought to the Court’s attention.

    HEIRSHIP PROCEEDINGS

    • Proposed Judgments for heirship proceedings must comply with the intestate distribution laws. Even if the applicant is claiming the estate consists of only community property, the Judgment must address distribution of separate property as the court is not making a finding as to the character of the property.
    • Applicant must appear with two disinterested witnesses to prove up heirship. Additionally, all witness testimony shall be reduced to writing.
    • All heirs must waive service, or be in compliance with Estates Code §§ 51.101, 51.051, 51.053, 51.054, 202.051 and 202.054, be served citation via the Fort Bend County Clerk. Return receipts will not be accepted from attorneys.
    • All attorneys ad litem appointed in heirship proceedings must e-file a report at least one week prior to the scheduled hearing date.
    • An Affidavit of Service of Citation pursuant to Section 202.057 must be e-filed at least one week prior to the scheduled hearing date.
    • Do not include the attorney ad litem fee in the Judgment. It will be paid by separate Order.
    • When appropriate, include language in the Judgment releasing the attorney ad litem from further duties in the case.
    • See Texas Descent and Distribution Chart [PDF]

    GUARDIANSHIP PROCEEDINGS

    EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 2015

    • All attorneys wishing to serve as an attorney ad litem must (i) complete the four-hour certification course, or (ii) complete the one-hour addendum course to supplement the previously required three-hour certification course.
    • All applicant attorneys filing a new guardianship proceeding after September 1, 2015, must e-file a copy of his/her certification along with the application.

    GUARDIANSHIP FORMS

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    Last updated: 2/17/2017 10:47:45 AM