The “order of no administration” is one of the alternatives to a full probate. It is used when the estate has some assets, but the award of a family allowance would exceed the value of the assets. Since the family allowance is paid before nearly all other claims to the estate assets, there is no need to administer the estate. The “order of no administration” authorizes the court to award the entire estate to the applicant.
To determine whether the court is likely to grant an “order of no administration,” one has to:
- Confirm that a personal representative has not yet been appointed. This requirement is found in Texas Estates Code § 451.001(b)(2).
- Confirm that the decedent was survived by a spouse, minor child, and/or disabled adult child.
- Determine the amount of the decedent’s funeral expenses and confirm that they were paid or secured. This requirement is found in Texas Estates Code § 451.002(b).
- Identify the decedent’s assets and their probable value.
- Identify whether each asset is the decedent’s homestead, exempt property, or non-exempt property. The exempt property cannot exceed $30,000. If the decedent’s estate does not include at least $30,000 worth of assets, the applicant may want to request the court to make an allowance up to $30,000 in lieu of exempt property. This can increase the amount of the exempt property and reduce the amount of the non-exempt property.
- Determine the amount of the family allowance the court may be likely to grant.
If the family allowance exceeds the amount of the non-exempt property, the court should grant the “order of no administration.”
Benefits over Small Estate Affidavit or Muniment of Title
There are several benefits for using the “order of no administration.” These might be better than a small estate affidavit or an affidavit of heirship. If the “order of no administration” is granted:
- Possession and title to assets can be transferred to the surviving spouse and/or dependent children pursuant to the order.
- Those who would succeed to the decedent’s property under a will or Texas intestacy laws may not barred from taking the estate property.
- Would-be creditors lose their ability to pursue claims.
Form of Application
The “order of no administration” is requested by filing an Application for Family Allowance and Order of No Administration with the county clerk. The application is to be filed in the court that could otherwise hear the probate.
The application has to:
- State the names of the heirs and devisees,
- List the estate creditors and amounts owed (if known),
- Describe the property belonging to the estate to the best knowledge and information of the applicant and any liens and encumbrances on the property, and
- Include a prayer that asks the court to: (a) Make a family allowance; (b) Find that the family allowance exhausts the entire assets of the estate (other than the homestead and exempt property; (c) Order that the entire estate is to be set aside for the surviving spouse and/or children, and (d) If another party has filed an application to probate a will or for letters of administration, order that these other applications be denied.
The application should include a statement as to the amount of the family allowance sought and how it was determined. If there is no will, the application can also include the information that would be included in a heirship application. This can allow the court to determine heirship during the same proceeding.
The application should also include a verified affidavit confirming that the assets and values are correct and that the amount of the family allowance is correct.
In addition to the application, the applicant will usually provide the court with the corresponding order.
Probate Court Hearing
Once these documents are filed with the county clerk, the applicant can contact the court to schedule the hearing. A court hearing is required. Texas Estates Code § 451.002 confirms that the court does not have to provide notice to any other parties for the hearing. The court may require notice, however.
At the hearing, the applicant has to prove entitlement to the family allowance, the amount of the allowance, and provide enough information to apprise the court of what assets are part of the estate and what their values are.
If granted, the court will enter an order awarding the family allowance, determining that the non-exempt assets are less than the family allowance, and granting the decedent’s property to the applicant. The applicant can then take possession of the property and dispose of the property as they see fit.
Texas Estates Code § 202.205 says that a party is not liable to the estate creditors if they deliver property to the heirs listed in the heirship judgment if the judgment says there is no necessity for administration of the estate.
Texas Estates Code § 451.004 says that an interested person can apply to revoke the “order of no administration.” This application has to be filed within one year of the date the “order of no administration” is granted. The application to revoke may be based on additional assets being discovered or the valuation of the assets being incorrect. The court can also appoint two appraisers to determine the value of the assets if the valuation is in dispute.
Once the one-year period has passed, the “order of no administration” provides the finality similar to that of a full probate. If the “order of no administration” is revoked, it is likely that the estate will have to have a full probate.
Do you need to hire an Experienced Probate Attorney to help with an Order of No Administration?
There are many benefits to hiring an experienced probate attorney to help with an Order of No Administration. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process, ensure that all deadlines are met, and represent your interests in court.
An experienced probate attorney can also help you resolve any disputes that may arise during the administration of the estate. If there are disagreements among the heirs or beneficiaries, an attorney can help mediate a resolution. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation to discuss the specifics of your matter. (915) 292-4400.
Can you settle an estate without probate in Texas?
What happens if you don’t probate an estate in Texas? If you fail to probate a will within the 4 year time period, then the decedent’s estate will be treated as though they died intestate — without a will.
Do I need probate or letters of administration?
In Texas, if a person dies without a will and leaves behind assets totaling more than $75,000, their estate will generally need to go through probate. However, there are some alternatives to probate that may be available in certain circumstances.
One alternative is known as an “order of no administration.” This can be granted by the court if the deceased person’s assets are all titled in their name alone and there are no debts or taxes owed by the estate. In this case, the court may appoint someone to oversee the distribution of the assets, but the process will be much simpler and quicker than traditional probate.
Another alternative is called “small estate administration.” This is available when the value of the deceased person’s assets is less than $75,000 (or $200,000 if they are survived by a spouse or minor child). In this case, no formal probate proceedings are necessary; instead, a family member or other interested party can simply file an affidavit with the court detailing how they wish for the assets to be distributed.
If you’re not sure whether your loved one’s estate will need to go through probate, it’s best to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your options and make sure that everything is handled properly.
Is probate required in Texas if there is no will?
If a person dies without a will in Texas, their estate will still need to go through probate. The court will appoint an administrator to oversee the distribution of the estate. This is necessary in order to ensure that all debts and taxes are paid and that the remaining assets are distributed according to state law.
What happens if an estate is never probated in Texas?
If an estate is never probated in Texas, the assets of the estate will eventually escheat to the state. This means that the state will take ownership of the assets if no one else claims them.
How to avoid probate in Texas?
If you are the sole owner of your property and die without a will, your estate will go through probate. However, there are ways to avoid probate in Texas. One way to avoid probate is to name a beneficiary on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies. The beneficiary designation on these types of accounts overrides any contrary provisions in your will. Therefore, if you name a beneficiary on these accounts, your estate will not need to go through probate in order for the beneficiary to receive the account proceeds upon your death.
Generally, the Texas probate process is easy enough to go through so avoiding probate isn’t as necessary as it might be in other states.