Frequently Asked Questions from the Houston Bar Association
1) How do you e-file an original Will?
eGovernment from the Harris County Clerk
Original Wills are one of the documents that are exempted from electronic filing. However, a copy of that Will should be filed as an attachment to the application when it is electronically filed. The original Will must be then be filed with the County Clerk within three business days after the application is submitted electronically. See the
Probate Courts Administrative Order
- eFiling for more details.
2) Are there any exceptions to e-filing?
Yes, certain documents (such as Wills and Codicils) are exempted from electronic filing. Also, see the Amendments to the State Rules for Electronic Filing for a complete list of exceptions. Also note; that ProSe parties are not required to e-file per the Supreme Court mandate.
3) What are the costs associated with e-filing?
Attorneys/Filers are given the option to either contract with an EFSP (Electronic Filing Service Provider) or go directly through the State’s EFM (Electronic Filing Manager), which will be EFileTexas.gov. The fees charged by the EFSP’s vary depending on the services provided. Currently there is a $20 State Electronic Filing Fee and $2 County Electronic Filing Fee that goes into effect on 01-01-2014.
4) How many service providers are there for attorneys to use to e-file in county courts?
There is currently (as of October 31st) four (4) EFSP’s listed with EFileTexas.gov and others that are applying or undergoing the certification process. In addition to being the EFM, EFileTexas.gov is also one of the certified EFSP’s. To see the most current list of EFSP’s go to www.EFileTexas.gov.
5) Do you need special software to e-file?
No special setup or software is required. You can visit the EFileTexas.Gov website to see the recommended computer setting. *All documents must be searchable PDF’s.
6) Does e-filing apply to pro-se parties?
Persons not represented by counsel may e-file, but e-filing is not required.
7) When will we be able to view pleadings in cases online?
Our office is committed to having Probate document images (Sept. 1999 to present) available by the first quarter of 2014.
8) How do you handle a Certificate of Service on a pleading? Do you e-mail the document to all parties?
E-service is a feature provided by EFileTexas.gov where documents are electronically served to other parties in a case via e-mail. Using this option, you can track when each party received and opened the filing. Note: Transaction and service fees may apply depending on the EFSP used to perform e-service. Also, see the Draft Amendments to the State Rules for Electronic Filing for electronic service guidelines.
9) How can you verify that an attorney received the pleading if it is e-filed?
See answer to question # 8 – “you can track when each party received and opened the filing”. Also, see the Draft Amendments to the State Rules for Electronic Filing for electronic service guidelines.
10) How do you verify that the clerk got your e-filed pleading?
If the document is accepted for filing by the County Clerk, the filer will receive a “confirmation page” that the document has been accepted. This confirmation will include the date and time the county clerk considers the document to have been filed. If the document was not accepted, the filer will receive an alert that the document was not accepted along with the reason why. These confirmations will come thru EFileTexas.gov or the EFSP.
11) How do you handle emergency filings such as TROs or temporary guardianships?
Once a TRO is electronically filed, we would suggest that you contact our office so that we are aware that it has been filed. It will be available for pick-up from our office so that the attorney can present it to the Judge. Also, see the Draft Amendments to the State Rules for Electronic Filing for additional details.
12) When can we start e-filing documents with the County Clerk?
You can currently e-file documents in the County Civil Courts and the Probate Courts thru the electronic filing service provider (EFSP) of your choice.
13) How do you request & obtain citation on an original petition?
You can request and pay for citations to be issued at the same time the original petition is being filed electronically. Copies of the original petition must be provided by either paying 25¢ per page at the time you file electronically, by mailing copies to our office or by bringing copies to the citation clerks. If the citation is to be delivered by the Constable or via private processor, the hard copy will be available for pick-up by the appropriate party.
14) How will a process server file the return of citation?
Process servers are not required to e-file. However they can do so if they desire by signing up with a service provider.
15) What do you do with the original document since you are not filing it?
It is recommended that the original document be kept for the entirety of the case. Also, see the Draft Amendments to the State Rules for Electronic Filing for electronic additional details.
16) What is the percentage of documents that are rejected from e-filing?
Very small. Currently with Texas Online, less than 5%. However, if the County Clerk can no longer adjust the fees in EFileTexas.gov, the rejection rate could increase.
17) What are the main causes for rejection for e-filing?
Wrong county, wrong jurisdiction, wrong fees and services requested do not match with what the cover letter states.
18) Are there filing deadlines, ie, if a document is filed before midnight is it considered filed that day?
Upon transmitting a document to the e-filer’s EFSP, the e-filer is deemed to have delivered the document to the clerk and the document is deemed filed. A document will be considered filled timely if it is e-filed at any time before the midnight (in the court’s time zone) on the date on which the document is due. A transmission report by the e-filer to the e-filer’s EFSP shall be prima facie evidence of the date and time of the transmission. Also, see the Draft Amendments to the State Rules for Electronic Filing for electronic additional details.