Diane Trautman
Harris County Clerk


Harris County Clerk's Office Probate Courts

Probate Courts e-Filing

Effective January 1, 2014, the Supreme Court of Texas mandated that all attorneys must electronically file court documents in the Harris County Probate Courts. To e-file through the State of Texas’ electronic portal EFileTexas.gov, you must first select an electronic filing service provider (EFSP).

To view a list of electronic filing providers (EFSP) that have been approved by the State visit www.EFileTexas.gov.


A quick reference guide on how to electronically file documents


The Supreme Court of Texas mandate on electronic filing


Judicial Committee on Information Technology – E-Filing Technology Standards


Probate Courts Administrative Order on the e-filing of Wills and Annual Accounts

Probate Courts Downloadable Forms

If you intend to e-file any of the forms listed below they must be printed and scanned prior to being submitted.

Probate Courts Ordering Copies/ Letters

In this department you can obtain a copy of a Probate Court document or Letter of Testamentary, Administration or Guardianship.

View and print electronic copies of documents for free

Visit our Document Portal to register your account in order to view or print (with the unofficial watermark) copies online.

Purchase paper copies of documents without the unofficial watermark

  • in person at any Annex Location
  • by fax: (713) 437-5796
  • by email: ccoProbFM@hccountyclerk.com
  • by mail to:
    Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
    Attn: Probate Court Department
    P.O. Box 1525
    Houston, TX. 77251-1525
  • For Questions Call (713) 274-8585

To request copies to be sent via FAX, Email or Postal Mail please use our Copy Order Form.


REQUEST LETTERS TO BE MAILED OR FOR PICK UP PLEASE USE OUR CREDIT CARD FORM.

For information on payment options either in person, by postal mail, fax or phone please see Payment Options.


The fees for paper copies are as follows

  • Non-certified Paper Copy - $1.00 per page.
  • Certified Paper Copy - $5.00 certification fee & $1.00 per page.
  • Electronic (non-certified) - $1.00 per page.
  • Letter of Testamentary, Administration or Guardianship - $2.00 each.

Please note there is a 4% surcharge added when a major credit card is used without the cardholder being present.

Probate CourtsFAQ

The majority of people offering wills to probate use an attorney to represent them. However, some people file the application without an attorney.

Ordinarily, an application to probate a will must be filed within four (4) years of the date of death of the decedent. Also, under normal circumstances, letters testamentary or letters of administration cannot be authorized more than four (4) years after the date of death of the decedent.

There is no specific time for which an estate can remain open.

Neither the County Clerk or the Courts have the forms or templates used for the creation of an application or a Will. You may want to review the Texas Estate Code or go to the County Law Library, located at 1019 Congress, Houston, Texas 77002 for guidance on this matter.

Texas law permits a testator or an agent for the testator to deposit a will for safekeeping with the County Clerk (EC§252.001). Please refer to schedule of fees for payment. An Original Will may be deposited with the County Clerk for safekeeping until the death of the testator. During the lifetime of the testator, a will deposited with the County Clerk may only be delivered to the testator or another person authorized by the testator by a sworn written ordered.

No, letters of testamentary can only be obtained after a hearing admitting a will to probate and upon qualification of personal representative.

Although there is no statutory expiration date for letters of testamentary or for letters of administration, most financial institution require they be issued no more than sixty (60) days prior to presentation.

Probate Courtse-File FAQ

Original Wills are one of the documents that are exempted from electronic filing. However, a copy of the Will should be filed as an attachment to the application when it is electronically filed. The original Will must then be filed with the County Clerk within three business days after the application is submitted electronically.

Yes, certain documents (such as Wills, Codicils, Bonds and Citation Returns) 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.

Attorneys/Filers are given the option to either contract with an EFSP (Electronic Filing Provider) or go directly through the State’s EFM (Electronic Filing Manager), which is EFileTexas.gov. The fees charged by the EFSP’s vary depending on the services provided. There is currently a $30 State Electronic Filing Fee for each new case that is filed and a $2 County Electronic Filing Fee for each envelope filed.

To see the most current list of EFSP’s go to www.EFileTexas.gov. In addition to being the EFM, EFileTexas.gov is also one of the certified EFSP’s.

No special setup or software is required. You can visit the EFileTexas.gov website to see the recommended computer settings and scanner settings. All documents must be searchable PDF’s.

Persons not represented by counsel may e-file, but e-filing is not required.

Most documents are available to view online within minutes of being accepted.

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 State’s Rule for Electronic Filing for electronic service guidelines.

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 rejected, the filer will receive an alert that the document was not accepted along with the reason why. These confirmations will come through EFileTexas.gov or the EFSP.

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 State Rules for Electronic Filing for additional details.

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 cents 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 by private processor, the hard copy will be available for pick-up by the appropriate party.

It is recommended that the original document be kept for the entirety of the case. Also, see the State Rules for Electronic Filing for additional details.

The rejection rate is less than 10% for Probate Court e-filings.

Wrong county, wrong jurisdiction, wrong fees and services requested do not match with what the cover letter states.

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 filed 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 State Rules for Electronic Filing for electronic additional details.

Probate CourtsFee Schedule

Probate of a Will – associated court filing fees - $288

Administration – associated court filing fee - $288

Administration Without a Will – associated court filing fee - $288

Heirship – associated court filing fee - $288

Heirship and Administration – associated court filing fee - $371

No Administration - associated court filing fee - $288

Community Administration - associated court filing fee - $288

Probate of a Foreign Will - associated court filing fee - $209

Small Estate - associated court filing fee - $192

Right of Survivorship - associated court filing fee - $209

Open Safe Deposit Box - associated court filing fees - $82.00

Emergency Intervention - associated court filing fees - $209.00

Show Cause §252.201 - associated court filing fees - $161.00

Testamentary Trust - associated court filing fees - $209.00

Guardianship of a Minor – associated court filing fees - $288.00

Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person – associated court filing fees - $367.00

Temporary Guardianship – associated court filing fees - $288.00

Guardianship §1353.002 – associated court filing fees - $209.00

Sell of Real Estate - §1351.001 - associated court filing fees - $288.00

Home Equity - §1352.052 - associated court filing fees - $288.00

Minor Court Registry – each filing - $72.00

Inventory – fees due if filed 90 days after the Personal Representative has Qualified - $27.00

Bond – each filing - $5.00

Annual Account – each annual filing - $27.00

Annual Report of the Condition of the Ward – each annual filing - $12.00

Claims against the estate – each filing - $10.00

Document after 120th day of initial filing that is over 25 pages – each filing - $25.00

Pleading requiring a judge’s signature after the 120th day of the initial filing – each filing $2.00

Final Report on the Condition of the Ward – $12.00

Application for Sale of Personal Property – $27.00

Application for Sale of Personal Property with Posting - $108.00

Application for Sale of Personal Property without Posting - $27.00

Final Account with Posting - $108.00

Final Account without Posting - $27.00

Original Petitions – associated court filing fees - $170.00

Adverse Action Cross-Comp - associated court filing fees - $155.00

Abstracts of Judgment – each issuance by the County Clerk - $2.00

Wills for Safekeeping - each filing $5.00

Notice of Appeal – each filing $10.00

Citation Issued and Served by Others – each issuance - $8.00

Citation Issued by Certified Mail – each issuance - $79.00

Letters of Testamentary, Administration and Guardianship – each issuance - $2.00

Electronic Filing Fee – per document - $2.00

Returned Check Fee – each occurrence - $30.00

Non-Certified Copies – per page $1.00

Certification of a Document – $5.00 (plus $1.00 per page copy fee)

Jury Fee - each request for a jury trial - $40.00

Search Fee- $5.00

Posting – each in county service by the Constable - $79.00

Garnishment - each in county service by the Constable - $104.00

Show Cause - each in county service by the Constable - $79.00

Possession - each in county service by the Constable - $129.00

Personal - each in county service by the Constable - $79.00

Sequestration - each in county service by the Constable - $154.00

Injunctions - each in county service by the Constable - $104.00

Writs - each in county service by the Constable - $129.00

Subpoena - each in county service by the Constable - $79.00

Temporary Restraining Order - each in county service by the Constable - $104.00

Publication - each in county service by the Constable - $79.00

Execution - each in county service by the Constable - $154.00

Probate CourtsGuardianship FAQ

Either hire an attorney to file an application for guardianship, or write a letter to the Court advising that a guardian is necessary. If you write a letter, include enough information for the Court to find and interview you and the proposed ward.

Neither the County Clerk nor the Court have forms for the application and other documents necessary for the creation of a guardianship. You may review the Texas Estate Code or go to the County Law Library, located at 1019 Congress, Houston, Texas 77002 for guidance on this matter.

The creation of a guardianship is a very technical matter under the Texas Estates Code. Numerous steps are required and strict compliance with the Code is necessary. The County Clerk’s Office is not authorized to practice law and cannot instruct a person about all of the necessary steps that must be taken.

The letters of guardianship are the official certificate issued by the Clerk of the Court reflecting that the guardianship was created and identifies both the ward and the guardian. The letters of guardianship provide an expiration date on their face of one year plus 120 days after the anniversary date.

Each court varies, please contact the court assigned to case.

Please contact the court that has been assigned to your case.

Probate Courts Payment Options

Photo of a cahier taking payment

Cash – U.S. currency only

Checks

  • Money Orders
  • Cashier’s Checks
  • Business Checks
  • Personal Checks

Note

  • All checks and money orders should be made payable to the Harris County Clerk.
  • All checks and money orders must be drawn on a bank located in the United States.
  • All checks and money orders must be made payable in United States currency.
  • Personal Checks must have a local street address, proper identification, and supervisor approval.

Credit Cards

  • MasterCard
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express

The mailing address is: Harris County Clerk, P.O. Box 1525, Houston, TX 77251-1525.

Do not send cash through the mail.


Checks

  • Money Orders
  • Cashier’s Checks
  • Business Checks

Note

  • All checks and money orders should be made payable to the Harris County Clerk.
  • All checks and money orders must be drawn on a bank located in the United States.
  • All checks and money orders must be made payable in United States currency.
  • No Personal Checks will be accepted through the mail.
  • No out of state checks accepted.

Credit Cards

  • MasterCard
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express

Note

  • There is a 4% surcharge when using credit cards with this method of payment.

Credit Cards

  • MasterCard
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express

Note

  • There is a 4% surcharge when using credit cards with this method of payment.

We do not accept payments over the internet at this time.

Probate CourtsJudges and Staff

  • Harris County Civil Courthouse
  • 201 Caroline
  • Houston, Texas 77002

Probate Courts Free Legal Aid Resources

The Probate Courts do not provide direct legal services or maintain a list of pro bono attorneys. Below is a list of sites that may be able to assist you with your legal needs.

Probate CourtsGeneral Information

The Harris County Clerk’s office is happy to help you file documents or locate records, but we cannot answer legal questions. Legal matters often require the assistance of an attorney and the law prevents us from providing legal advice to any person. If you have questions regarding legal matters, please consider contacting an attorney of your choice for information or answers to specific legal questions.

If you need assistance in finding legal services, please see our list of
Legal Resources.