Muniment of Title

Experienced Houston Probate Lawyers Help Clients Simplify the Estate Administration Process

Navigating the Texas probate process can be complex; however, there are probate shortcuts available to those who are familiar with them. Probating a will as a Muniment of Title is one such shortcut that allows for a simplified probate process while still permitting the transfer of real estate. However, Muniment of Title is not available in all situations, and even when it’s an option, it may not be the best route.

 At The Probate Law Group, our dedicated Houston probate lawyers have more than three decades of combined experience helping our clients effectively plan for future generations as well as assisting family members through the probate process. We’re familiar with the various simplified probate processes in Texas and can help you determine the most effective and efficient way to transfer real estate and other probate assets.

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    A Muniment of Title is a legal instrument used predominantly in probate proceedings to facilitate the transfer of property after a person’s death. Essentially, a Muniment of Title serves as proof or evidence of ownership, allowing assets to be transferred without going through the traditional probate process.

    When a property owner passes away, transferring their assets can often be a complex and time-consuming process. The traditional probate process involves authenticating the deceased person’s will, if they have one, appointing an executor, identifying and inventorying the deceased’s property, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to rightful heirs or beneficiaries. This process can be lengthy, expensive, and sometimes contentious among the potential beneficiaries.

    This is where a Muniment of Title comes in handy. If the deceased has a valid will, there are no unpaid debts (other than those secured by real estate), and Medicaid has no claim against the estate for recovery of benefits, then the property can be transferred directly to the beneficiaries via a Muniment of Title. The will is admitted to probate as a muniment (evidence) of title, bypassing the more drawn-out probate administration process.

    Probating a will as a Muniment of Title can save you and your loved ones significant time and expense. However, there are certain situations where Texas probate law does not allow you to do so. The most common scenario where this comes up is when there are creditors to the deceased’s estate. Under Texas Estates Code § 257.054, an applicant for the probate of a will as a muniment of title must show that there are no outstanding debts. 

    One common debt that can prevent you from probating a will as a Muniment of Title is a Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (“MERP”) claim. Thus, when presenting an application for Muniment of Title, you must provide proof that the estate is not subject to a MERP claim if the deceased received Medicaid benefits. 

    To file an application for Muniment of Title, you must provide certain information about yourself as the applicant, the deceased and their property, including the following:

    • The names and last three digits of all applicants’ driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers;
    • The deceased’s name and the last three digits of their driver’s license number and Social Security number;
    • The date and place of the testator’s death;
    • A general description of the testator’s property;
    • The date the will was executed;
    • The address where service can be effectuated for the executor;
    • The names of the witnesses to the execution of the will; and
    • The names of any of the testator’s children who were born after the date of the will. 
    There is additional information that may be necessary in some cases. An experienced Houston probate lawyer can assist you in gathering all the necessary information to prepare an Application for Muniment of Title.

    If you have a loved one who recently passed away, and the thought of a lengthy probate process is unappealing, probating the will as a Muniment of Title may be something to consider. The Probate Law Group in Houston, TX is here to help you through every step of the way. To learn more and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, you can reach us at 713-574-6080 or through our online contact form.