Probate courts in Texas hear all matters relating to probate, guardianships and mental health commitments. The purpose of probate is for the court to oversee any contests to a will and the distribution of a deceased person's assets. The court will close a probate case once all of the assets of the deceased have been distributed. However, if new property is discovered, you may wish to petition to reopen the the probate case.
Travel to the clerk of the probate court where the case was previously pending. Request a form document from a deputy clerk to reopen the probate case. The form is often entitled: "Petition to Reopen Case."
Fill out the petition form provided to you by the deputy clerk. List the name of the probate case, the case number, your name, the date and any other required information. State why you wish the case to be reopened. For example, you may have discovered property that must be probated. Carefully review the petition for accuracy. Sign the petition.
File the petition with the clerk of the probate court. Ask the deputy clerk whether the petition will be set for a hearing before the judge. Each probate court often has a different procedure for hearings. If necessary, appear at the hearing on the petition and explain to the judge why the probate case should be reopened.
Statutorily created probate courts exist in Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Dallas, El Paso, Travis, Bexar, Harris and Hidalgo Counties. In other counties, probate cases are handled by the constitutional county court.
This article does not constitute legal advice. See an attorney to help you with your specific situation.
- Texas Courts Online: Statutory Probate Courts
- "Estate & Trust Administration for Dummies"; Margaret Atkins Munro, et al.; 2008
- "How to Live and Die with Texas Probate"; Charles A. Saunders; 1995