The probate process is the Court’s involvement in the winding up of an individual’s personal and business affairs. When there is a Will, the Will becomes the primary document in the probate process as the Court will determine the validity of the Will. If there is no Will, the Court will determine who the heirs of the deceased are by applying Texas’ intestacy laws. The loss of a loved one may be the most difficult and challenging experience you face. We have experience with this on both a personal and professional level, and we can reassure you that you will get through this difficult time.

Probating a Will

It is important to remember that a Will is just a piece of paper until a Court determines it is the valid Will of a deceased individual. Furthermore, a Will should be probated within four years of the date of death to ensure compliance with Texas laws. Failure to probate a Will within four years is not a probate roadblock, but additional obstacles will arise due to this failure.

A properly prepared Will causes the probate process to be much simpler and less challenging. Even if a Will has some deficiencies, we can work with you and your family to ensure that an independent administration is created with little or no bond required.

The named executor of the Will owes fiduciary duties to your estate and Will beneficiaries. The law provides that certain steps must be taken in the administration of a Will, and we can assist you so that these duties are discharged both effectively and efficiently.

When there is No Will

If there is no Will, the Court will determine who the heirs are according to Texas’ laws of intestacy. In blended family circumstances, who inherits what pursuant to the law is oftentimes different than what the deceased would have wanted. Here the Court will appoint an additional lawyer called an attorney ad litem to identify the heirs of the deceased according to the intestacy law. In these circumstances we work to minimize the Court oversight and additional expenses in an effort to save your time and money.

Other Probate Tools

Depending upon your family’s exact circumstances, it may or may not be advisable to pursue other avenues such as Muniments of Title, Affidavits of Heirship, or Small Estate Affidavits. We will be happy to discuss with you the most advantageous path forward for your family.