Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Texas

My husband passed 2months ago. We had like wills & POA from 2006. Everything was left to me, his surviving spouse. The POA was never notarized or filed but is signed by myself & the authoring attorney. All our banks accts are in both names. Do I need to probate the will in order to change the deed on our house, which is paid for? Do I need to probate to sign his name to any other legal paperwork?

Thank you,


Asked on 5/26/17, 5:41 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Leon David L. Leon, P.C.

I'm sorry to learn of your husband's passing. To answer your question, the power of attorney, even if valid at the time, is no longer valid as of the date of death. Depending on exactly how the bank accounts are titled, you might be able to access them with a death certificate only. It depends on how you all filled out the signature card, among other things.

As for the house, in most cases, yes, you would probate the will and clear title to the house. It's a fairly straightforward process and we do this in our office daily.

Before I can determine which procedure you'd need, I would need to know the following:

1. Do you have the original will?

2. Did he have any debts? If so, to whom?

3. Are there any other assets?

4. What was the cause of death?

5. Was there any pending litigation involving your spouse at the time of death?

As for your homework assignment:

1. Obtain a death cert and scan it or photograph it and email it to me.

2. Contact your bank and ask if the accounts are "POD/TOD or JTWROS" (Pay on death, transfer on death, joint tenant with right of survivorship.)

3. If your husband has debts, get the most recent statement for each creditor.

4. If the house is mortgaged, a recent statement

5. If you have the closing docs, a copy of the deed would be helpful.

6. Scan/photograph and email a copy of the will.

7. If there was any pending litigation, email the cause numbers, or the first page of the pleadings.

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Answered on 5/26/17, 7:53 am

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