LOCAL HOUSTON PROBATE ATTORNEY | PROBATE ESTATE
When you have a probate estate of your loved-one’s property, you should consult with an experienced probate lawyer in Northwest Houston | Cypress | Tomball, Texas.
Probate is the name for the legal process of proving the validity of the Last Will & Testament of the deceased for their probate estate. If the intentions of the Will are clear and not ambiguous, then the terms of the Will are ordered to be carried out by the Executor of the Will. Thus, the Executor is charged with distributing the deceased’s property to the beneficiaries according to the Will.
Probate Attorney for Administration of Will
Probate of a Will takes place in Court. The general procedure is as follows:
- File Application to Probate Will in Harris County, Texas, or whichever county where the deceased resided;
- Attend the Court hearing to “prove up” the Will. This is where the Judge examines the Will to determine if it is a valid Will under Texas law. Sometimes, additionaly witnesses are necessary if there is a slight problem with the Will.
- Sign the Oath and return it to the Court. Request and obatin Letters Testamentary. Letters Testamentary are issued by the Clerk and give the Executor the power to “stand in the shoes” of the Decedent for anything financial that needs to be done.
- Publish a Notice to Creditors in a local, legal newspaper for the County in Texas where the probate is on file.
- Notify all beneficiaries of the Will by certified mail, return receipt requested, or obtain a Waiver of Service from the Beneficiary.
- File a Certificate of Compliance with the probate Court notifying the probate Court that you have put all beneficiaries on notice.
- File an Inventory of the probate estate, or an Affidavit in Lieu of Inventory if all creditors have been paid, and all beneficiaries notified of the assets in the probate estate.
- Acquire certified copies of the Last Will & Testament of the deceased and a certified copy of the Order Admitting Will & Authorizing Letters Testamentary signed by the probate Court.
- Record the certified copies referenced in #8 above with each county in Texas where the deceased owned any real property interest.
States require documents issued by courts or a probate judge in order to access bank accounts or to cash checks made payable to the estate from a personal injury case or returned deposits. The personal representative of the estate can often not avoid probate for property transfer upon death, but life insurance can help to pay off real estate.
Get connected with us today for a free phone probate phone consultation with your local Houston probate lawyer and, in most cases, a flat fee quote for all expenses and fees for your probate Court in Northwest Houston/Cypress, Texas. Or, read more about probate of a Will here.
Probate of Will as a Muniment of Title
Another form of possible probate of someone’s estate with a probate attorney near you is to probate the Will as a Muniment of Title.
Probate as a Muniment of Title is unique to Texas law; however, it can be a good life-raft for a person’s Will which cannot have an administration in Court due to the expiration of the four-year statute of lmitations for filing to probate a Will with an Administration.
However, if you are outside of the four-year window from the deceased’s date of death, and you have a Will for that person that specifies who gets their estate, it is still a viable way to get the Will in to probate Court in Texas.
If you find yourself outside the four-year window from the date of death, you simply have to notify all heirs of the deceased with a special Notice to Heirs of Probate of a Will after four years, or get a consent from each heir to allow the process to move forward.
Our office would love to get together with you to assist on your Probate of a Will as a Muniment of Title case — so contact your local probate lawyer, the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, and schedule your free phone consultation today. You will be happy having the best law firm to deal with your court issues with the probate judge and help with the distribution of assets. The Executor of an Estate has a serious job, and it needs serious help to pay the debts owed, follows state laws, and adhere to an estate plan.
Heirship & Intestacy Probate Attorney
Heirship is the name of the legal process to determine who the heirs are for a deceased person’s estate who died without a Will.
An heir is defined as “a person who succeeds, by the rules of law, to an estate in lands, tenements, or hereditaments, upon the death of his ancestor, by descent and right of relationship. In plain language, an heir is defined as who gets what and in what percentages from someone they are related to when they die without a Last Will & Testament.
While the above pie chart is confusing, your local heirship attorney can help put the pegs in the right holes with you.
The legal term “intestacy” is similar to heirship because it references and directs who gets what and in what percentages when someone dies without a Will. Ther terms heir and intestacy are inter-related.
Most often-times, an Heirship probate case is also accompanied by an Administration of the probate estate. The term Administration is applied broadly to legally mean the management of an estate by an Administrator.
The general steps of a Judicial Determination of Heirship are as follows:
- Filing of an Application for Judicial Determination of Heirship with the probate judge.
- Filing a Motion to Appoint an Attorney Ad Litem.
- Communicate with the Attorney Ad Litem and supply the Ad Litem with two disinterested witnesses who knew the deceased’s family structure.
- The heirship hearing with the probate judge in probate court takes place with the witnesses, both probate attorneys, and the client.
- Most heirships also involve an Administration as well, which is also set up at the hearing with the probate judge.
An Affidavit of Heirship can sometimes be used, but only as a last resort.
Small Estate Affidavit Probate Lawyer
A Small Estate Affidavit can be used in some estates where the deceased died without a Will, only had a homestead property, and $75,000 or less in non-exempt assets (exclusive of any value of the mortgage on the homestead residence).
The following is a flow chart representing when you can and cannot use a Small Estate Affidavit as a method of probate in Texas.
Probate by way of a Small Estate Affidavit in Texas is an effective and useful way to transfer assets from a deceased’s small estate to the heirs at law.
The above graphical representation displays some of its limitations. You cannot use a Small Estate Affidavit if the deceased had any real property interest in land, minerals, or otherwise other than the homestead residence. Second, the non-exempt assets must exceed the liabilities (e.g. debts).
The local Cypress, Tomball & Northwest Houston probate small estate affidavit attorney can explain to you whether your loved one’s estate qualifies for a Small Estate Affidavit in Texas.
We can help so give us a call or chat with us directly on our website.