The Probate Process for a House in Texas – How to Avoid Getting Scammed

Probate is just the way we handle a person’s estate after they’ve passed away. We’ve all heard how it can be long and complicated, and we don’t look forward to dealing with it ourselves.

Actually, if done correctly, handling the probate process for a house in Texas can be pretty simple, just four steps. But, on the other hand, both the worry about probate and its simplicity can make people vulnerable to certain scams. Let’s explore them.

The Probate Process for a House in Texas – How to Avoid Getting Scammed

Probate Process for a House in Texas

If someone doesn’t have the right type of trust, their property usually goes through probate after they die. Probate is how we handle their debts and transfer their property to the people who inherit it.

Typically, the probate process follows four steps.

  1. The first step is to submit a request to the probate court to approve the will and choose someone to handle the estate, called the executor. If there’s no will, they’ll appoint someone called the administrator. Then, a date for a hearing is set, and a notice about the hearing is published in the local area.
  2. Once the court appoints someone to handle the deceased person’s affairs, that person lets all the creditors know about it. They also make a list of everything the deceased owned, called an inventory.
  3. Once they figure out which bills are real, the person in charge of the estate pays them all off using the money and belongings left behind. Sometimes, they have to sell stuff from the estate to cover the costs.
  4. The things the person who passed away owned, like a house, are given out as they asked in their will. If there’s no will, the state’s laws decide who gets what, usually based on family relationships.

And that’s all for how the probate process works for a house in Texas, and for the whole estate too. Just watch out for any scams that might come your way.

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Common Probate Scams

These scams are modern versions of old tricks, made more effective by the Internet and email. But they still aim at people who are easily fooled.

  1. Probate Avoidance Scam – These scammers often go after older people. They convince them to buy fake products that claim to help them avoid probate, like a pricey living trust kit. After they get the money, they either never give anything or provide something that’s actually worthless in the eyes of the law.
  2. Inheritance/Estate Tax Scam – In some states, there’s still a tax on inheritance or estates. Scammers use the names of trusted people or organizations to contact potential executors or personal representatives. They tell them they’re due to inherit a lot of money. But there’s a trick: in these states, the tax has to be paid before probate can continue. So, the victims have to send the scammers a higher tax amount.
  3. Fraudulent Listings Scam – This scam works well because many people use sites like Craigslist to find homes, especially renters, and it’s often seen in the probate process for a house in Texas. Scammers look up properties owned by recently deceased people and advertise them for rent. Then, they vanish after collecting the deposit and first month’s rent, leaving the probate process to deal with the upset renter.

If you’re dealing with probate, especially for a house in Texas, it might not be as scary as you think at first. Understanding what it’s about and knowing about common probate scams are good starts, but there are other things to think about too.

Things you should know about selling an inherited house.

If you’d like to learn more about probate and how to get through it smoothly, contact us by phone at 512-230-3469 or fill our simple form.


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