What are Letters Testamentary in Probate?

What are Letters Testamentary in Probate?

confusedAlmost daily, probate lawyers from
around the country get the same phone call. “I just need to get some Letters Testamentary (or Letters of Administration) from the court clerk. Can you run down to the court and get one for me?” Uh, not so fast. It can be easy – but it’s not that simple.

Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration are very nearly the same thing. In essence, they are a certificate from a court that someone has been appointed as the personal representative of the estate of a deceased person (the Letter Testamentary is used when the deceased person died after having executed a Last Will and Testament; the Letters of Administration are used when someone died without a Will). As I explain them to my clients, Letters are essentially a certificate by the Court that you’ve been “deputized” to deal with the legal and financial affairs of the deceased and the estate. When you’ve been granted Letters by a court, you’re the person who banks, creditors and others will deal with regarding any assets or debts of the decedent. When you present Letters, it is assumed that you’re the person the Court has placed in charge of the affairs and assets of the estate and they can legally deal with you.

While you can’t just run down to the courthouse to pick up a letter, in Texas (and in many jurisdictions), the process can be relatively simple. Because not every case is identical and circumstances are very important, if you were told you need to obtain letters (usually by a bank or other financial institution), you should call a qualified attorney to ascertain the best way to get letters from the court. Our firm routinely helps Texans obtain Letters from courts and we would welcome the opportunity to provide you with information. Call us today so we can help you. Most consultations are completely free of charge and take less than 30 minutes by telephone. 

Chris Parvin is an Estates and Business attorney in Dallas, Texas. He serves as Managing Partner of the law firm of Parvin Law Group, P.C., is Board Certified in Estate Planning & Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law. He can be reached by email at chris@parvinlaw.com.