The probate process in Texas can be fairly complicated. When you are executing a will or administering an estate, you need legal help, advice, and guidance. This makes sure that you are able to perform your duties in a legally sound manner. When undertaking the probate process, you may face various problems. Beneficiaries may dispute their share, a will may be found invalid or you may be unable to catalog all assets. This is where we can help. We can lend a hand in all the aspects of the probate process. Our Texas probate attorneys can represent you in probate court and deal with all court-related tasks as well.
You can legally go through probate administration on your own. However, it is a common best-practice for administrators and executors to hire a professional attorney. This is particularly true if the probate process involves a good deal of court rulings. In such a case, you may have to consult a probate process every step of the way. This may sound daunting. But when you hire the probate attorneys at Eddington & Worley, they can make the entire process quite seamless and smooth. We liaison with you, the courts and the beneficiaries to make sure the probate process is conducted and finished quickly. We also validate that all legal requirements are met.
Call Eddington & Worley today at (281)809-9185 to speak with our expert probate lawyers and find out how they can help guide you through the process. Losing a loved one is hard enough, let us take the stress of handling the probate process off of your shoulders.
WHAT IS PROBATE?
When a person dies, their estate needs to be legally transferred to the right persons or entities. The beneficiary may be defined in the will of the deceased. If this is not the case, a court may decide upon it.
Probate is the legal process that is concerned with this area. It involves taking stock of the property and estate of the deceased. This is done to make sure all property comes within the scope of the legal proceedings.
Probate can be a fairly straightforward process, or it can be quite complex. This really depends upon the estate, any other property, the claimants and the persons named in the will. It may also take into account other factors.
WHY DO I NEED A PROBATE LAWYER?
When a loved one dies, their final will must be executed. Someone, usually either a trusted loved one or an attorney, is in charge of making sure that the deceased person’s assets are distributed in the manner in which they desired. This person is known as the administrator of the estate. The beneficiaries of the estate also have an interest in the execution of will as people often try to manipulate someone on their death bed, or their wishes after they have passed.
Probate administration can be a complex process. If you are the executor of the will of the deceased person, you may need legal help. When performing trust administration or will execution, you have to take into account a lot of factors. You have to inventory all available property, contact the stakeholders and fulfill several other legalities. If you fail to fulfill all legal requirements, someone may hold it against you in a court of law.
This is why it is vitally important to seek legal help at this stage. Here at Eddington & Worley, our probate lawyers specialize in providing guidance in trust administration. We have worked with a large number of administrators over the years. Our Texas probate attorneys provide advice throughout the trust administration process to make sure it goes smoothly. We also help you meet all the legal obligations and fulfill your duties as best as possible.
If you are a named or unnamed legal beneficiary of a trust, we help you safeguard your interests. If you have not been named in the will and intend to dispute it, our attorneys can help. A will can be challenged and disputed on various grounds. By hearing your contentions, our lawyers formulate a challenge that has good odds of success.
Even if you have been named in a will, you still need legal help. Trust administration is a complicated process which is why it requires close legal scrutiny. The administrator or the executor may fail in performing his or her duties. They may not fulfill all the legal requirements or simply make arbitrary decisions.
When you hire our probate lawyers, they monitor the trust administration process. They ensure that you get all the property and assets you are entitled to. We also help speed up the probate process and remove legal hassles so that you get ownership at the earliest.
HOW IS A PERSON’S ESTATE DEFINED?
The estate of a deceased person is basically everything the person owned at the time of death. These can include cash, real estate assets, stocks and bonds, life insurance policies and any other financial accounts.
However, the estate of a deceased person does not include financial assets with a declared beneficiary. For instance, if the insurance policy of the deceased had a named beneficiary, the policy is not a part of the probate process. Similarly, if the deceased had created a trust, the assets of the trust will not fall under the probate law.
Another exception is any property that the deceased held in joint tenancy. Upon death, the share of the deceased passes on to the other tenants of the property.
After a person dies, their estate assets must be gathered and used to pay any outstanding debts as per Texas law. Once the debts have been paid and beneficiaries identified, the executor or administrator may proceed to distribute the assets of the estate. If there’s a will and it is not disputed, it may serve as a guide to the distribution process. If one of the beneficiaries holds that the will isn’t valid, it may be challenged in a court of law. The judge may then rule on whether or not the original will conforms to the law. If a will does not exist, the Texas intestate succession laws may be used to distribute the assets.
HOW DOES THE PROBATE PROCESS WORK?
The probate process is started when you file an application with any probate court in Texas. This can be done for a variety of reasons. For instance, if you are not sure about the qualification of the executor, you can have a judge rule on this.
In order to file an application for probate, you must submit all the relevant details. These include the name and address of the deceased, the estate and assets, and the heirs. Once you have filed an application, you must wait two weeks before a judge will start the proceedings on the case. This is done to ensure that any other stakeholders are notified about the case and have sufficient time to respond.
A probate judge will review the application and the evidence. The judge may also listen to the executor, beneficiaries, and heirs of the deceased. If a will exists, the judge will rule on whether or not it meets the requirements of the Texas law. If a will doesn’t meet all requirements, a judge may turn it down and deny it.
Similarly, a judge will see if the will names an executor, and then review this person’s qualifications. If there’s no executor, the judge has the power to appoint one.
The executor is responsible for gathering a record of all the assets of the deceased. This person must also make sure that any outstanding debts of the estate of the deceased are paid. The executor then distributes the estate and other assets among the beneficiaries and heirs. The court authorizes the executor to perform all these duties by issuing a Letter Testamentary. This is the legal authorization which empowers an executor to handle all matters related to the will and estate.
Performing the duties of an executor is not easy. Managing assets, distributing the estate and taking care of the related legal matters is fairly complex. This is why it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney for advice, guidance, and help.
Here at Eddington & Worley, our Texas probate attorneys help you simplify the process by taking a structured approach. We break down the tasks for you so that executing a will becomes manageable and simple. We also stand by you and deal with any legal issues that may arise along the way.
THE PROBATE PROCESS STEP-BY-STEP
The probate process can be broken down into various steps. These include filing for the probate, notice posting, validation of the will, collecting up property and assets, notifying and paying the creditors, identifying the beneficiaries, resolving any disputes that may arise and finally distributing the assets. Following is a quick look at these steps:
Filing and Notice Posting
To initiate the probate process, you must file an application with a probate court in Texas. The county clerk posts a notice for the public regarding the application. The notice reveals that an application for the probate process has been received. It also seeks a response from anyone who may dispute the administration. After two weeks of the filing, the court opens hearings on the case.
Validation of the Will
A valid will must meet certain legal requirements as per Texas law. The judge of the probate court will determine whether or not a will is valid. If a will does not exist, the judge may appoint an administrator to oversee the estate of the deceased.
Collecting up Property Assets
Collecting assets is one of the most important steps of the probate process. In this step, the administrator or the executor is tasked with cataloging all the assets of the deceased’s estate. A full list of these assets, along with their estimated valuation, must be submitted to the county clerk within 90 days.
Notifying and Paying Creditors
Before an estate can be distributed among beneficiaries, it must be used to pay the outstanding debts. To this end, the administrator or executor may publish an ad in a local newspaper seeking claims from creditors. After verifying the claims, the administrator of the estate is required to pay them by using the estate assets.
Identifying the Beneficiaries
It is important to identify the beneficiaries of a will. If a will is valid and has named the beneficiaries, the process is fairly straight-forward. However, if the will is not valid or the beneficiaries are not named, it can take a while to accomplish this step. In such a case, the probate court will determine the heirs of the estate.
Resolving Disputes and Distributing Assets
If any heirs, beneficiaries or other stakeholders have filed disputes regarding the will or the estate, these must be resolved. The estate assets can’t be distributed until the disputes are resolved. A probate court may hear and rule on these disputes. Once the disputes are resolved, the administrator of the estate may proceed to distribute assets to the beneficiaries.
Areas We Serve
We offer legal help and guidance to will executors and estate administrators throughout Texas. In particular, we offer probate law services in the following areas:
If you live in any of these areas and need help with the probate process, our Texas probate attorneys can help. We specialize in handling all aspects of the probate process. Whether you want to gather up the assets, validate a will or distribute the assets properly, we can offer practical, legal guidance. We can also help you if you are a beneficiary and want to ensure that you get your fair share from a will.
CALL OUR TEXAS PROBATE ATTORNEYS FOR A CONSULTATION
The probate process is fairly complex and fraught with many legal problems. In many cases, the process has to be conducted while being sensitive to the grief of the survivors. As an executor, you may also face challenges to the will, disputes by the beneficiaries and other problems. Our Texas probate attorneys at Eddington & Worley have an extensive experienced in probating the will. We are well-versed in Texas laws that apply the probate process. And with this expertise, we help you stay on the legal side of things while dispensing of estate assets. Call us today for a free consultation and advice on any matters related to the probate process.