Frequently Asked Questions
What is probate court?
In Texas, a Last Will & Testament is not self-enacting. It has to be probated in a Probate Court for it to be declared to be the deceased’s Last Will & Testament. The act of probating a Will effectively transfers title to real estate, bank accounts, and anything else that has title or financial value. This is the law in Texas, and including Northwest Houston, Cypress, Tomball, and Spring areas.
How much does probate cost?
In most cases, your Houston, Texas probate attorney can have the probate court appoint an executor, conduct the probate and estate administration, and oversee the entire probate law process for a flat fee. The flat fee for a houston probate lawyer is usually unique and based on a case by case evaluation that depends on what the estate attorney sees as problems in the Will that can affect the probate process. When talking to a probate lawyer, be sure to find out if the Tomball and Cypress, Texas probate lawyer you are talking to includes the expenses of the case in the flat fee, and not just the attorney’s fees as the flat fee for the probate lawyer.
Can I do probate myself?
Probate law and practicing law in probate involve some outdated terms that are foreign to many people. Even, attorneys that do not practice probate law are not suited to tackle probate and estate administration. While it is legally possible to do your own executor appointed probate and estate administration of your loved one, it is worth the extra cost of a probate lawyer. You can find a cheap probate lawyer who will do your case on a flat fee — just make sure you hire a Northwest Houston, Cypress, or Tomball area probate lawyer who you feel comfortable with, and has the experience to handle your case effectively. Practicing law in probate is something that really shouldn’t be attempted without experience.
How long does probate and estate administration take in Houston, Texas?
Probate, in some instances, can be expedited in order to meet an emergency situation. Depending on the form of probate and estate administration that fits the case, it is feasible to have it done in less than a month. Every case is different, so be sure to inform your probate lawyer when you get a chance to speak.
Will I have to go to the Probate Court with my Northwest Houston probate and estate administration attorney?
Not always…If your probate case is filed in one of the Harris County Statutory Probate Courts, and you have a self-proving Will, your flat fee probate attorney in Cypress & Tomball, Texas can go to Court on your behalf, and the Court will take the testimony of the probate lawyer to prove up the basic facts necessary for probate administration. You also do not need to go to Court to get a Small Estate Affidavit signed by the probate court judge, and neither does your probate attorney.
What is a Small Estate Affidavit in Houston, Texas probate law?
A small estate affidavit can be used in limited circumstances to transfer real property, bank accounts, and other assets of the deceased. Talk to your local probate and estate administration attorney in Cypress & Tomball, Texas for more information on whether your loved-one’s estate qualifies for this method in the probate court.
What is a judicial heirship?
A judicial heirship is a probate law process that is done in according to Texas probate law, and is best suited to be done by an experienced probate attorney. Heirships are used when there is no Will that identifies the beneficiaries of the person’s estate for probate and estate administration. Heirs of someone’s Estate are those that inherit property under Texas probate law. There is a set scheme for who inherits what and in what percentages after someone dies without a Will.
What are Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration?
In connection with practicing law in probate court, your attorney will have you appointed as the Executor (if there is a Will). If there is no Will, or you were not the named Executor in the Will, then the Court will appoint you as the Administrator. They are essentially synonyms for the same thing — that being who is in charge of the probate and estate administration. The umbrella term for both Executor and Administrator is the “Personal Representative” of the Estate. The Personal Representative has broad authority to carry out all business of the Estate, including real property transfers and access to financial accounts.
What is an Independent Administration in probate court?
An Independent Administration is the preferred method for administration of an estate in probate court under Texas law. Your Northwest Houston probate attorney will do his/her best to have you appointed as the Independent Executor or Independent Administrator. An Independent Administration is far less expensive than a Dependent Administration in probate court under Texas and Houston law.
What is a Dependent Administration in probate court?
A Dependent Administration is a lesser form of probate and estate administration in probate court, when compared with the Independent Administration. Sometimes, it is required to be a dependent administration if the deceased died without a Will and have minor beneficiaries. It can also be required if there are minor problems with the Will and not everyone agrees on who should be the Independent Personal Representative for the Estate. Talk to your local probate lawyer available to you in Northwest, Houston, Cypress, Tomball and Spring for assistance on the best way to not end up having a Dependent Administration.
What is a decedent?
A Decedent is simply the deceased person who is of concern for the relevant matter. In the instance of a probate court administration of someone’s estate, the person who has passed away is the Decedent.
If I am married, doesn’t the house automatically transfer to me when my husband/wife dies under Texas law?
Any law firm or law office practicing law in the probate area can tell you that, under Houston, Texas law, and throughout Cypress, Tomball, Magnolia, and Spring, it is all the same. In Texas, unlike some other states, the marital homestead property does not automatically pass to the surviving spouse, even if the homestead is community property. The surviving spouse still needs to do probate in order to clear up the break in the chain of title that occurs when someone dies who own real estate in Texas. A flat fee Houston probate lawyer can assist you with the transfer of the property to your own name, and therefore allow you to refinance, downsize, or sell your house if you so choose.
What is a break in the chain of title under probate law?
Chain of title refers to what title companies look at in order to make a determination of whether or not the seller of the real property actually has “clear title.” When someone dies in Texas, that is a break in the chain of title under Texas probate law, and you need to have some form of probate and/or estate administration with your local Tomball and Cypress, TX probate attorney.
Do probate lawyers offer free consults?
Not all probate lawyers in Northwest Houston, Cypress, and Tomball, Texas will see you free of charge. However, at the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC we offer free 30-minute consults to all prospective probate clients. During the consult, your unique situation will be evaluated by a local Cypress & Tomball, TX probate lawyer, and you will get an answer on whether or not the Will is valid or not. Call or fill out the contact us form to begin the process of getting your questions answered.
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The Law Office of Troy M. Moore conveniently has offices located in Northwest Houston Cypress Tomball, Texas and Georgetown, Texas. This office offers a broad range of legal services to its clients. Clients enjoy reasonably priced, effective, and efficient legal services. Please call the office to inquire about the legal services offered.
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