Saturday, December 23, 2017

What is Muniment of Title?

Texas probate lawyers frequently use muniment of title proceedings to administer small estates quickly. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, you might be considering the use of muniment of title to probate the will. If that is the case, you should consult with an experienced Texas probate lawyer.

The Texas statutes created muniment of title, a legal concept that is unique to Texas. You can only use this probate mechanism in certain circumstances. The requirements for approval of a request to probate a will through muniment of title are:

  • The Court agrees that there is a valid will that is admissible to probate.
  • The Court finds that there are no unpaid debts of the estate, except mortgages or other liens having the real estate as security.
  • The Court rules that, for other reasons, there is no need to proceed with a full administration of the estate.

Reasons to Use Muniment of Title to Probate a Will in Texas

  • Executor Issues: If the will did not name an executor, or the named executor is dead, unwilling to serve, disqualified, or not made independent, the muniment of title procedure can sidestep these problems.
  • Speed: A muniment of title is an ancillary probate procedure that can take less than 30 days from start to finish.
  • Simple Estate: If all the lawyer needs to do is to transfer title of the real and personal property to the beneficiaries, and the court does not need to manage the estate, a muniment of title action will expedite matters for all concerned – the court, the estate’s attorney, and the beneficiaries.

A Few Caveats

Because there are strict statutory procedural requirements, you should have a lawyer handle a muniment of title to probate a will case. Muniment actions are not DIY projects.

Since muniment of title actions are unique to Texas, you should not use them when the decedent owned assets such as real property, shares of stock, or other securities or investments, in a state other than Texas. You may have to file a second action in the state where the property in question is located, which defeats the purpose of a muniment of title action.

How a Muniment of Title Action Goes Through Probate Court

Your lawyer will prove up the will at a hearing in the courtroom and give the judge an Order Admitting Will As A Muniment of Title. The proposed order should contain the required statutory language. If there are any questions about heirs or the interpretation of the will, the attorney can request declaratory judgment to resolve the matter. The Court will enter an Order Probating Will as Muniment of Title.

Within 180 days of the judge admitting the will to probate, the attorney must file an affidavit that itemizes which terms of the will have been met and which are not yet done. If all the adult beneficiaries file a waiver of service and consent to the muniment of title action, the court will usually waive the requirement of this affidavit.

You should talk with a Texas probate lawyer in your area if you have questions about how your county handles muniment of title to probate a will actions. Contact the Law Office of Carey Thompson today to arrange a free confidential case consultation.

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