Guardianship Must be Closed to Finish Mom’s Probate

Dear Mr. Premack: My mother has recently passed away and neither my brother nor I were here guardian. My brother and I are Coexecutors of the Will and she left what she has to the two of us. How complicated is the probate process given this information? RG

Since you specifically mention that you and your brother were not her guardian, I’m going to assume that someone else was her guardian. A guardian is usually appointed by the same court that has jurisdiction over the probate of her Will. Her death left two legal processes. First, her Will must be admitted to probate and you (and your brother) must be granted letters testamentary as her Coexecutors.

Second, her guardianship must be closed. The guardian must file a report of death and a final accounting with the court. When it is approved, the guardian must seek court permission to deliver her remaining assets to the Coexecutors and must terminate the bond that was required by law. When the assets are delivered to you as Coexecutors, you must notify the creditors, pay any debts and taxes, handle her estate Inventory and must distribute the remaining assets per the terms of her probated Will. Thus, the added complexity for you comes from working with (or waiting for) her guardian to close her estate and to deliver her assets.

Paul Premack is a Certified Elder Law Attorney practicing estate planning and probate law in San Antonio.

Original Publication: San Antonio Express News, March 26, 2012