SETTING PROBATE HEARINGS:
Beginning April 1st, 2023, uncontested probate matters are heard on designated Monday mornings at 9:00 am. Email the probate auditor to request hearing dates. Contested matters will also be set by email request.
IMPORTANT PROBATE INFORMATION:
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 Personal Representative General Information Sheets [PDF] directly to the Court, by emailing them to the Probate Auditor at [email protected]
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 Friday, one week prior to your scheduled hearing date 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.
- PLEASE EFILE ALL DOCUMENTS WITH THE COUNTY CLERKS OFFICE NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR HEARING DATE. DO NOT EMAIL PROPOSED ORDERS AND/OR JUDGMENTS DIRECTLY TO THE COURT.
- 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 testimony and oaths that will be signed at the hearing. Failure to do so will 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 meet TEC 51.203 requirements, including first posting citation. Deposition response(s) must be filed at least one week prior to the docket.
SMALL ESTATE AFFIDAVITS
Requirements for Court consideration of Small Estate Affidavits:
- As of October 1, 2014, all newly filed (including Amended) Small Estate Affidavits must be the form provided on this website. (See links below.)
- As of April 15, 2016, an Original Death Certificate must be provided to the Court’s Probate Auditor.
- Small Estate Affidavit Checklist [PDF]
- Small Estate Affidavit Form [PDF]
- Texas Descent and Distribution Chart [PDF]
MUNIMENT OF TITLE PROCEEDINGS
- Medicaid Estate Recovery Program: See the Court’s policy on Muniments of Title and Medicaid Benefits [PDF]
- Probating a Will more than Four Years after the Death of the Testator:
- Reference “more than four years after death of testator” in the title and body of the application and order.
- Form – Affidavit Waiving Citation and Waiving Objection for Probate of a Will More than Four Years after Decedent’s Death [PDF]
INDEPENDENT ADMINISTRATIONS – WILLS
- 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:
- Reference “copy” in the title and body of the application and order. Also, reference “copy” in the body of the proof and oath.
- Physically file the will or codicil copy that is being offered for probate with the County Clerk as if it were an original document. This helps the Court properly evaluate the copy of the Will or Codicil that is being offered for probate.
- Form - Affidavit Waiving Citation for Probate of a Copy of a Lost Will or Codicil or Probate of a Lost Will or Codicil without a Copy [PDF]
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.
- 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]
- Proposed Applications for Determination of Heirship and Letters of Administration MUST be filed separately.
EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
- Under TEC Section 1054.201, all attorneys wishing to serve as an attorney ad litem and all attorneys filing a guardianship application 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 this certification along with the application.
Annual Report Form [PDF]