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Is there a deadline for filing a will with the court?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2022 | Estate Administration |

If you create a will as part of your estate plan, you should keep it in a safe place. You hold the responsibility for keeping track of this document until your death. At that time, it comes under the care of your personal representative, who will handle the probate process.

Knowing the location of your will is essential to ensuring everything goes smoothly after your death in regard to the handling of your estate. Texas law does set a deadline for filing the will with the probate court, and if your personal representative misses it, there could be issues.

The deadline

Your personal representative must file your will with the court within four years of your death. While this may seem like a long time, if you hid it or otherwise put it in a secret place, it very well could take years for your family to be able to find it.

For this reason, it is essential to make sure that you put your will in a safe place but let at least your personal representative know where it is. Also, be sure he or she has easy access to it. Since you should have full trust in this person, it should not be an issue to provide him or her with access.

The issues

The problem if your personal representative fails to file the will on time is the court cannot use it after the deadline passes. It will only serve to prove real estate titles after that point. The state will treat your estate as if you died without a will. Essentially, all your wishes become irrelevant, which can be problematic for your family.

Part of estate planning should involve making sure people know where to find your will. If it becomes lost, it could create problems for your heirs.