What is Muniment of Title
When a resident or property owner in Texas passes away, their family often believes the traditional probate process is necessary. Fortunately, that’s not always the case. Under certain conditions, there are less expensive and more timely alternatives to probate. One of those alternatives is “muniment of title.”
Don’t be thrown by the word “muniment.” It’s just a fancy way of saying “evidence.” So, muniment of title means evidence of title. This means a will can be submitted to the court to confirm ownership of the property by the deceased, avoid probate, and have the property passed to the heirs in a matter of 30-60 days instead of the months or years it can take an estate to go through the probate process.
Essentially, it is a more straightforward way to establish the validity of the Will and pass title to the beneficiaries named in the Will.
When is Muniment of Title Used?
Muniment of title is generally only used when there are no debts of the estate needing to be paid, and there are no actions that would require the appointment of an executor or executrix.
A muniment of title should be considered when the estate has no unsecured debts, and the only assets involved are real property and cash accounts. However, it is not advisable to use it when the estate includes publicly traded securities, bonds, mutual funds, and similar assets because transferring these types of assets often requires an executor or executrix.
What is the Procedure for Muniment of Title?
Like the traditional probate process, an interested party must file an application in a court with jurisdiction over probate matters. In the Fort Worth metro area, the application should be filed in the Tarrant County Probate Court.
The application for muniment of title must state the following to the extent that each is known to the applicant or can, with reasonable diligence, be verified by the applicant:
- Each applicant’s name and domicile
- The testator’s (deceased’s) name, domicile, and, if known, age on the date of their death
- The fact, time, and place of the testator’s death
- Facts showing that the court with which the application is filed has venue
- Facts showing that the testator owned property, including a statement generally describing the property and the property’s probable value
- The date of the Will
- The name and residence of any executor named in the Will
- Each subscribing witness to the Will, if any
- Whether one or more children born to or adopted by the testator after the testator executed the Will survived the testator and, if so, the name of each of those children
- That the testator’s estate does not owe an unpaid debt, other than any debt secured by a lien on real estate
- Whether a marriage of the testator was ever dissolved after the Will was made, and, if so, when and from whom
- Whether the state, a governmental agency of the state, or a charitable organization is named in the Will as a devisee.
After receiving the application, the court will have a hearing on the will's validity. This is typically a short hearing, lasting 20-30 minutes.
If the court is satisfied the estate doesn’t owe an unpaid debt and there is no necessity for administration of the estate, the real property can then be quickly and easily passed to the heirs.
Trust the Experience of David Pannell and Cities Real Estate
Owner/Broker David Pannell of Cities Real Estate has vast experience with real estate transactions involving various types of probate, including muniment of title. If you don’t have an advisor to assist you with the application, David will be happy to refer you to one in Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Denton, Dallas, or Collin County.
For more information, contact Cities Real Estate Broker/Owner David at (817) 797-9047.
David is a real estate professional you can trust. He’s been helping families with all types of property sales for over 20 years in DFW and has also served in the United States Marine Corps and as a City of Arlington police officer.
Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes. Nor does it substitute for consultation with a competent probate attorney.
NTREIS data last updated March 28, 2023.
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