If your loved one has passed away, understanding all the legal processes can be quite difficult for you in this emotionally distressing time. Working with an experienced and skilled probate attorney from The Borger Law Firm PLLC can make the entire process less stressful and smooth for you. Each state has its own laws and regulations pertaining to probate and estate administration. At The Borger Law Firm PLLC, our team of attorneys is well-versed when it comes to the Texas court system.
What Is Probate?
It is a formal legal process that deals with the estate affairs of a deceased person. It includes:
- Establishing in probate court that the will of a deceased person is valid
- Paying taxes and debts
- Appraising the estate
- Identifying and inventorying the assets and property of the deceased
- Distributing the remaining assets and property as per the wishes laid out in the will
The main purpose of probate is simply wrapping up the final affairs of a deceased person. In other words, probate ensures the legal and orderly transfer of estate assets and property from a decedent to his or her beneficiaries.
The Probate Process
While every case is different and influenced by a unique set of circumstances, there are certain steps involved in almost every probate process. They include:
- Collection of initial facts, including interpreting the deceased’s will and determining whether it is valid or invalid
- Filing the probate application to initiate the process
- Court hearing for executorship
- Payment of debts and any other forms of creditor’s claims
- Identification and inventory of estate property and assets
- Transfer of remaining property and assets to heirs and beneficiaries
- Taking care of all necessary tax filings
Learn more about the probate process and its requirements.
Types Of Probate
In Texas, there are three types of probate:
- Independent administration: This method of probate is requested in a will or carried out by consent of all beneficiaries. It does not require the administrator to take the court’s permission for every transaction, as posting a bond is generally enough. Independent administration is the most common type of probate in Texas.
- Dependent administration: This probate requires high level of court supervision, as the administrator is required to get permission to enter in almost every transaction, from selling property to paying off debts.
- Muniment of title: As compared to other states, this form of probate is unique to Texas. No administrator or executor is appointed to distribute estate property, as the court itself transfers the titles to heirs or beneficiaries after certifying that the will in question is truly the deceased’s last will.
Issues Leading To Probate Litigation
Several issues can potentially lead to probate litigation, including, but not limited to:
- Disputes associated with creditor’s claims
- Disputes among heirs and beneficiaries
- Allegations of theft of estate property or assets
- Allegations of unwarranted or immoderate influence
- Fiduciary claims against the executor or personal representative
While litigation is one way to resolve issues, there is a chance that the parties involved settle their differences out of court.
Alternatives To Probate
Avoiding the probate process is possible by making a comprehensive estate plan. However, sometimes estate documents have vague guidelines, which make it difficult to circumvent the complicated legal process. Fortunately, there are certain alternate methods to probate available that beneficiaries can employ to achieve the same results after their loved one’s death. They may include:
- Affidavits of heirship
- Family settlement agreements
- Payable on death (POD) accounts
- Revocable living trusts
- Transfer on death (TOD) accounts
- Small estate affidavits
- Joint ownership of property
Discuss Your Case With Our Experienced Probate Attorneys Today
If your loved one has met the inevitable and left a will to delegate their last wishes, you may need a probate attorney to handle matters in this difficult time. Contact The Borger Law Firm PLLC today at 832-263-8098 or send an inquiry by filling the form. We serve clients in Montgomery County and surrounding areas in Texas.