Wills & Guardianship: 214.227.6400
9400 N. Central Expy., Ste. 1308
Dallas, Texas 75231
For many people, going to Court to "prove-up" a Will is that person's first time standing before a judge. They don't know what to expect, what to say, and how to dress. They wonder what could go wrong and are worried about what they will say. At the Duran Firm, our goal is to take that fear away by ensuring that you and the attorney are prepared for what will happen during your hearing.
Usually the persons present at the hearing are the client (referred to as the "Applicant"), the Judge (referred to as "Your Honor"), and the attorney (referred to as "Michael"). If the Applicant is not the person serving as executor, then the executor must also appear. If the Will is not self proved (an affidavit attached to the back of the Will), then one of the persons who signed as a witness to the Will must also appear at the hearing. If the Will is holographic (entirely written in the handwriting of the Decedent), then two persons familiar with the Decedent's handwriting and signature must also appear at the hearing. Most wills prepared by an attorney are self-proved.
The Judge will call the case. The client, attorney, and any witnesses will approach the bench. The Judge will greet the client and tell the attorney that he may proceed. The attorney will then ask the client a series of questions that correspond to the statements made in the application. A list of sample questions is below. The Judge will then ask the witness to sign a "Proof" which is a document summarizing the witness's testimony before the Court. Thereafter the Judge will sign an order admitting the Will to probate. The order and the original Will are then taken to the clerk's office where they are scanned into the Court's files. The attorney will then request Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, and/or a certified copy of the Order Admitting Will to Probate and of the Last Will and Testament. The original Will will never leave the clerk's office again. The attorney will then have what he refers to as "probate school" by going through the list of duties that need to be accomplished for the particular estate.
For a sneak peek at probate school go to:
A list of the the Judges and Court addresses is below:
All of the Courts in North Texas now set specific dates and times for probate prove-up hearings. The Duran Firm will notify you of your specific setting in writing and by telephone. The timing of the hearing varies. Collin County usually sets 10-17 days from the filing of the Will. Dallas County settings can be as many as six weeks out. The length of the hearing is usually about five minutes if the Will is self-proved.
It is very important that you are not late to the hearing. If you miss our setting, it will have to be rescheduled at a later date. We will charge you for the extra setting if we are asked to reschedule because of your failure to be on time.
Clients are reminded that we are going before a Court of law to make a request to a judge. Therefore please dress accordingly wearing business casual dress or better. No shorts, cutoffs, tank tops, hats, flip-flops, etc. will be allowed in the courtroom.
Clients frequently want to know what kind of questions they will be asked at the hearing. Generally speaking, the testimony provided in court matches the allegations made in the application that was filed with the court. We have prepared the following list of questions so that you may be more fully prepared for the hearing. Please rememebr to always stand when addressing the judge. Also, please address the judge as "Your Honor."
The information in this area is reserved for clients of the Duran Firm. The password is in the letter giving you notice of the hearing. Sorry attorneys, you will have to get your list of questions somewhere else.