Texas lawmakers in the 83rd legislature face a busy month. Between now and the end of the regular session in May, legislators in the House and Senate will propose, debate and act on an incredible variety of laws. Like any other area of the law, probate and guardianship matters should be affected by a number of proposed bills.
Among the several bills introduced during this session affecting probate and guardianship, at least one appears to be aimed at creating an interesting new position in our statutory probate courts. House Bill 1755 would technically alter the Government Code and the Estates Code (our new version of the Probate Code in 2014). The proposed bill would permit statutory probate judges to appoint a “public probate administrator.”
The public probate administrator would be authorized to initiate some very streamlined proceedings to administer estates when no other interested person comes forward to invoke the administration process. In a nutshell, the proposal would permit the creation of a failsafe, so that estates do not go un-administered. The proposal is an interesting solution to a problem that, quite frankly, this author did not know existed. Obviously, the bill will receive all due attention and debate from our lawmakers, and perhaps the final product, if enacted, will prove a useful addition to the service provided by our statutory probate courts.