Letters Testamentary in Texas

David L. Leon Feb. 2, 2017

What Are “Letters Testamentary”?

Letters Testamentary are letters issued by a probate court stating that a person has the ability to act on behalf of a deceased person’s estate. The letters are typically issued pursuant to the person’s last will.

Letters Testamentary are essentially a court order. In order to get letters testamentary, a person who has an interest in a deceased person’s estate must make an application to a probate court. Letters testamentary are available to estates only if the application is made within four years of the date of death of the person who wrote the will.

How Do I Obtain Letters Testamentary in Texas?

In order to obtain letters testamentary in Texas, one needs to go to the appropriate court. (Many counties in Texas have statutory probate courts.) You will need to have an application prepared, and the original will. You will also need live testimony in court to prove that the will being presented is the last will of the deceased, and that the person is dead. You will also need to prove that less than four years have elapsed since the date of death.

How Long Does It Take to Get Letters Testamentary in Texas?

Obtaining letters testamentary in Texas is a fairly straightforward process. Assuming a properly drafted will and an open schedule on the court (and with the attorney), letters can be issued within a month or so. If there are issues with the will, the process can take significantly longer.