What do I need to know about Probate? in Houston, Texas

What do I need to know about Probate?

What do I need to know about Probate?

The term probate refers to this legal proceeding that takes place in order for an Executor (the person who will eventually take over after you die) has all of your information about what was yours when alive so he or she can carry out any wishes properly with these assets!

What Is the Probate Process?

Probate involves several steps:

Filing the probate petition. The executor must file the original will and a certified copy of the death certificate with the probate petition and other supporting documents in the Court of the county where the deceased person lived. There is a filing fee based on the size of the estate.

  • Give Notice. You’ll need to mail a notice that the estate is in probate to all creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs as required by the court.
  • Inventorying the property. The executor must collect the decedent’s belongings and have them appraised as necessary.
  • Paying outstanding debts and taxes. This includes mortgage payments, home equity loans, income taxes, property taxes, and other applicable accounts. If the estate does not have enough cash on hand to repay the obligations, assets may need to be sold.
  • Distributing the remaining property as the will or state intestacy law directs. The distributees (the legal term for the heirs to the estate) are listed in the initial probate petition. They are served with a notice that requires them to submit to the jurisdiction of the Court.

The Probate Process is a matter of public record. The precise rules governing probating estates are set forth by Texas law.

The executor is empowered with special legal documents that give them power to act. The person who holds this position can be compensated for their time and effort involved in distributing an estate, which will determine how much they are paid according the size of the estate.

When someone dies without a will, their estate can become an issue. A family member or friend may need to petition the court for an appointment as administrator of the estate unless there’s no probate needed.

Is Probate Necessary?

Assets that pass through the probate process are often times valuable and include bank accounts, homes or other real estate as well as cars. The passing of these types assets can be difficult for relatives who may not know what steps need to take next if they’re going into uncharted territory without any legal guidance on how best handle such situations!

Non-probate assets include:

  • Assets held in trust
  • Bank accounts with a named beneficiary
  • Retirement accounts, like a 401k and IRA
  • Life insurance policies with a named beneficiary
  • Jointly held savings, checking, and brokerage accounts
  • Jointly held real property

Probate may not be necessary if:

  • The estate is small. A small estate proceeding can be filed as an alternative to probate if the decedent died without a will and the estate has less than $75,000 of personal property excluding the homestead.
  • There are no probate assets. If a person’s estate consists solely of non-probate assets, non-probate methods may be necessary to facilitate the transfer of the estate assets.
  • The estate plan was created to avoid probate. Individuals with a moderate to high net worth often take steps to prepare an estate plan that avoids probate as a way to simplify the distribution of assets to their heirs.

Who Are Heirs-At-Law?

Heirs-at law are individuals who would be entitled to inherit the deceased’s assets if they died without a will according to intestacy laws. This typically includes surviving spouses, children and grandchildren as well as siblings or parents for those close relatives closest in proximity first right of inheritance.

When someone dies intestate, or without leaving a will in place to provide for their inheritance and distribution of property as they see fit; heirs-at law can contest the validity of that person’s last wishes. For example, when a person dies and only names three of their four living children in the will, it can create some issues. In this situation you would have to contest or challenge the validity if they believe that there was intentional omission from designation for an unknown reason such as being unsound minded at time making planks so then fourth child could fight against its enforcement because he/she wasn’t included despite requests before death.

Do I Need a Probate Attorney?

The length of time required to complete your estate probate process will vary widely depending on how many heirs you have, if any are still missing or dead and whether there is an appraisal needed for the value of property that needs transferred through this legal document. If everything can be located quickly then it’s possible three- six months could go by before all responsibilities regarding inheritance distribution become resolved but in more complex cases with contentious wills leading up until finalizing things at court level could take years.

A probate attorney is a valuable resource for individuals who need help with the legal aspects of their estate after they die. Whether there are any contests to your will or not, an experienced professional can work closely alongside you as executor until all necessary paperwork has been completed and notifications sent out appropriately so that no one misses out before it’s too late.

How do I contact a Brown Law Probate Lawyer?

To speak with a lawyer at Brown Law about your probate goals, call our offices. We are pleased to offer a complimentary initial consultation.

To reach our firm, call +1 (713) 554-4975 or contact us by email.