Probate Court

Probate Court’s Response to the COVID-19 Epidemic

Update as of October 1, 2020 -  In response to orders issued by the City of Austin, Travis County, the Texas Supreme Court, and the State of Texas, all hearings at the Probate Court shall continue to be conducted by video (through Zoom) or telephonically if video is unavailable. Until further order of this Court, there will be no in-person hearings for probate or guardianship matters held at the Probate Court. When setting a hearing, please inform the Court whether the hearing can be conducted either by video through Zoom or by telephone.

Information Regarding Probate Court's upcoming move

The Probate Court will be moving to the old federal courthouse located at 200 W. 8th Street, Austin, Texas 78701, on October 21-23, 2020. During this time, the Probate Court will remain open, but there will be no hearings held. Starting at noon on Wednesday and continuing through Friday, the Probate Court’s phones and computers will be disconnected for the move, so certain Court staff may not be able to respond in a timely fashion to any calls or emails. If you need to reach Court staff during this time, please email rather than trying to call – some Court staff will be working remotely during this time and will continue to have access to email. Attorneys will still be able to set hearings by emailing [email protected]. If you have any emergency, please contact Tom Ruffner, the Court Administrator, at [email protected]. The Probate Court will open at its new location on Monday, October 26. Please note that the Probate Court’s mailing address will remain the same: P.O. Box 1748, Austin, Texas 78767.

New Citation by Publication Rules in Effect as of July 1, 2020

The new citation by publication rules are now in effect. Regarding heirship determinations, in any application to determine heirship filed on or after July 1, 2020, citation by publication must be now done on the newly established website maintained by the Office of Court Administration and in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the proceeding is pending (unless an exception in the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code applies). For the applicant, the process will continue to be the same - the applicant will continue to be responsible for publishing the citation in the newspaper and filing the newspaper publisher’s affidavit. The Clerk’s Office will submit the citation for publication on the OCA website at the time the application is filed. No additional issuance fee will be assessed for the citation by publication on the website. The Office of Court Administration will transmit the publisher’s affidavit directly to the Clerk’s Office to be filed.

Clarification Regarding Filing an Original Will with the Clerk in a Probate Proceeding.

The original will can be filed with the Clerk’s Office in the following three ways:

  1. Mailed via USPS to Travis County Clerk, ATTN: Probate Clerk, P.O. Box 149325, Austin, TX 78714.  All of the regular mail sent to the Clerk’s Office is sent here first to get checked in and logged.  It is then distributed where it needs to go either same day or next day.
  2. Certified mail to 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751.  It is to ensure the mail is checked in and logged. Certified will ensure a confirmation as well. If you choose to mail the will to the Clerk’s Airport location, please allow 2-3 additional business days before requesting a hearing because the will needs to be routed to the Clerk’s Office at 1000 Guadalupe before it is filed into the cause.
  3. Hand Delivered to the Clerk’s Office at 1000 Guadalupe St., Room 222 by appointment only.  If you choose to hand deliver the will, you are required to make an appointment with the County Clerk’s Office beforehand.  In order to schedule a time to deliver the will, email the Clerk at [email protected] or call (512) 854-5958. 
    • An appointment is required to ensure the deputy will let you into the Courthouse and that the clerk will be ready for your arrival.  At the appointment time, the clerk will meet you outside on the 2nd floor and take the will.  They will file mark copies if needed and sign if needed.
    • FEDEX can be sent up for the attorney at their appointment time as well.  Same rules apply.
    • Please note that in order to be allowed to enter the Courthouse, any person will need to be wearing a mask and will need to allow the deputies to take their temperature.
    • For everyone’s safety - please wait for the clerk to open the door and take the will.  Please remain in the hallway when a clerk answers the door.
Coming to the Court? Please see important information about the Courthouse security measures.

The Honorable Guy Herman

Information for Prospective Jurors

The probate court is a statutory probate court headed by an elected judge, the Honorable Guy Herman. The probate court is also served by Associate Judge Dan Prashner and Associate Judge Tom Ruffner.

In general, the probate court probates the wills of deceased persons, declares the heirs of deceased persons who die without a will, establishes guardianships for incapacitated persons and minors, supervises court-ordered involuntary mental health commitments, and administers all eminent domain cases initiated in Travis County.

The probate court also has jurisdiction to hear lawsuits related to an estate of a decedent or ward as well as actions by or against a personal representative of a decedent’s or ward’s estate. These ancillary cases cover a wide range of topics, from products liability to fiduciary litigation to medical malpractice to family law.

Probate Court News

The Court no longer requires case information sheets to be filed with all new cases. The Supreme Court of Texas repealed the requirement effective December 11, 2018.

Also see update information by other links on the website. The Probate page, especially, has many updates following the 2019 Legislative session.

Information about the Probate Court’s e-courtroom technology is available on this site

Free CLE at the Probate Court

The Probate Court sponsors several CLE sessions each year

From the Clerk's Office

For questions please contact the Civil and Probate Division of County Clerk's office.

Probate Court Local Rules

General Documents

Documents are also available on the Probate, Guardianship, and Mental Health pages.

Probate Court

courthouse

Travis County Courthouse

1000 Guadalupe
Room 217
Austin, TX 78701

Mailing address

P.O. Box 1748
Austin, TX 78767

(512) 854-9258
Fax: (512) 854-4418

Hours: M-F, 8:00-12:00 & 1:00-5:00

Court staff

Probate Court's YouTube Channel

Directions to the Travis County Courthouse.

TAX RATE: TRAVIS COUNTY ADOPTED A TAX RATE THAT WILL RAISE MORE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS THAN LAST YEAR'S TAX RATE. THE TAX RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY 3.6 PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $11.00.
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