We never want to think about what will happen when we die. And, the younger we are, the less we think we need a will and estate planning. However, the last thing you want to do is leave your assets unprotected. Accidents happen. You want to make sure your family is taken care of. A Corpus Christi probate lawyer at Eddington & Worley is here to help.
If your loved one dies, you’re going to feel sad and angry. You certainly won’t be thinking about whether or not they had a will. You should focus on your family and making proper funeral arrangements. This is when you need one of Eddington & Worley’s Texas probate lawyers the most.
Call Eddington & Worley today at (281)809-9185 to speak with one of our probate experts. You will receive a risk-free consultation where we can answer any questions you may have about the probate process.
Why Do You Need a Probate Attorney?
If a family member dies, you may be named the executor of their estate. This is even truer if it’s a close family member like a parent or spouse. If you are the executor, you’ll have to open an estate.
An estate is just a listing of the assets and debts your loved one had when they passed away. It includes real property, bank account, and personal property.
Most people have a will when they pass away. This makes the probate process a lot easier. Nobody can question who gets what. The will includes this information. It will outline who is entitled to what.
If there’s no will, things can get confusing. Your probate lawyer in Corpus Christi will help determine, under Texas law, who is entitled to what.
Texas probate lawyers are able to handle these things for you. They will open up the estate for you and deal with all the creditors. Creditors are the people who are owed money at the time of your loved one’s death. You must pay them before anyone receives their inheritance.
Your Corpus Christi probate lawyer will serve as a referee. He’ll help settle any disputes over property. They’ll work hard to make sure everyone acts reasonably and come up with a solution that is fair.
The good news is, very few probate cases go to court. For the most part, as long as creditors are paid, things will go smoothly. However, if a creditor thinks you’re hiding assets, they’ll contest the estate. Having a probate attorney lends your case credibility. It also reassures the creditors that everything is on the up and up.
Your Probate Attorney in Corpus Christi Will Step in When Someone Dies
There are a few things you have to do if your loved one dies in Texas. The first thing you must do is order a death certificate. You must send a copy of the death certificate to certain parties, including:
- Major creditors such as mortgage companies, car finance companies, stock and bond companies, etc.
- The life insurance company
- Pension company
- Veterans administration
Your Texas probate attorney will make sure everyone gets this information. Since you need the death certificate to get life insurance proceeds, your attorney can make sure this is sent to them.
Once the death certificates are sent out, your Corpus Christi probate attorney can open an estate with the court. This must be done within a certain time. This allows all the creditors time to file their creditor’s claim. It also gives your attorney a chance to determine what the assets and debts are.
How Does Your Corpus Christi Probate Attorney Handle Your Loved One’s Estate?
Opening an estate can be different in each county. In Corpus Christi, all you have to do is go to the Surrogate’s Court and let them know you have to open an estate. You’ll fill out the required forms. You may have to go to court to do this. Your Texas probate attorney can help you do this.
Once the estate is opened, your Corpus Christi probate attorney can start gathering assets. He’ll look to see what your loved one owned. This may include:
This includes the place where your loved one lived. It may also include rental and vacation properties. It can even include things like a timeshare.
The largest personal assets are usually vehicles. Your attorney will find out which cars are owned and which are still financed. Financed vehicles will have to be surrendered. You can’t sell or devise a car that still belongs to the bank.
Other Personal Possessions
Depending on the situation, your loved one could have owned many other personal possessions. Of note would be valuable artwork, jewelry, antiques, etc.
Bank Accounts, Cash, and Stock Certificates
It’s easy to find out how much someone had in the bank when they died. It can be a lot harder to figure out where they had their investments. Your probate lawyer can rely on financial professionals to help him do this.
Even more than money, a lot of family members fight over heirlooms. Things that carry sentimental value can be the hardest things to distribute.
Your lawyer has plenty of time to calculate the value of the estate. He will make sure it’s done before the filing deadline. In Texas, you have six (6) months to report all assets and debts. This is why creditors can’t file their claims for at least six (6) months.
Probate Attorneys Negotiate Settlements with Creditors
Once creditors know your loved one has passed away, they crawl out of the woodwork. People you’ve never heard of may appear and say he owed them money. They’ll send demand letters requesting payment.
Creditors know if they don’t file their claims, they lose their right to get paid. As soon as they’re allowed to file their claim, they’ll do so for the balance in full.
The good news is, many creditors are willing to settle their claims. They know there might not be enough assets to pay them in full. They’d rather get something than nothing.
Today, a lot of large banks use outside collection agencies to handle their estate claims. When a customer dies, they transfer their account to their estate department. Their probate department reaches out to family members. If you’re the executor, they’ll try to contact you directly.
Your Corpus Christi probate attorney will negotiate settlements with the creditors. They’ll look at what’s owed versus what assets are available. They’ll offer settlements on a pro-rata basis. Ultimately, the creditors will be ordered to accept this pro-rata offer by the court. They’d rather get money now as opposed to having to wait for it.
If the creditors are wise, they’ll accept your attorney’s offer. They know they risk receiving nothing if they wait for the claim to be paid by the court. Usually, once secured creditors are paid, the money could be gone.
Secured creditors include the following:
- Mortgage companies
- Car finance companies
- Banks who own personal loans tied to collateral
- IRS tax liens
- Judgments and other liens
All secured creditors are paid before unsecured creditors. This means the mortgage company will be paid before credit card companies. Your Corpus Christi probate lawyer understands this. He’ll use this in his settlement negotiations.
How Can a Corpus Christi Probate Lawyer Help?
When we lose a loved one, we don’t want to talk about legal issues. It’s not important that people are owed money. We don’t care who gets his watch. All we want to do is grieve in peace.
For your family’s sake, there are plenty of skilled and compassionate probate attorneys in Corpus Christi, Texas who will handle this for you. These attorneys specialize in estate matters.
If your Mom or Dad had a probate attorney draft their will, you want to reach out to them to get a copy. You will need the original will. A copy will not suffice.
The next thing you need to do is call a probate attorney in Corpus Christi. The probate attorneys at Eddington & Worley in Corpus Christi, Texas have decades of combined experience handling cases just like yours.
Make things easier for you and your family. Call a probate attorney in Corpus Christi. Schedule a time to sit down with him so he can answer all of your questions. You will want to take the following with you for your first meeting:
- a copy of your loved one’s will
- Any bills or debt notices you’ve received
- a copy of the life insurance policy
- a copy of the death certificate
- Any information you have about major assets and debts
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
A Corpus Christi probate attorney at Eddington & Worley can review your information. It gives them a good idea of what your case will require. They’ll see if there is a will. He can also look to see what kinds of assets and debts he’s dealing with.
Some probate cases are easy to handle. They can be opened and closed in just a few months. Others may take years to resolve. If there are a lot of assets and debts, it could take a long time to settle with the creditors.
Call and schedule your initial consultation today with the Corpus Christi TX family attorneys at Eddington & Worley today. Let a compassionate and skilled professional handle the probate process for you. It’s time you and your family focus on each other.