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Do I Need a Probate Attorney?

Probate Attorney in Houston, Texas

When a loved one dies, their estate must undergo the probate process. Typically, probate is a complicated legal process for settling an estate. In Houston, Texas, the probate court may require you to have an attorney to handle the case, however, it still depends on the complexity and size of your estate. If you want probate to be a relatively stress-free process, you definitely need to contact an experienced probate attorney.

Chargois Harper is the best probate law firm you can trust in Houston, Texas. With more than 30 years of experience, you can definitely count on us to resolve your probate concerns. Our legal team provides compassionate assistance to ensure that assets are properly distributed if you need someone excellent in probate law, set up a consultation today!

Why do I need a Probate Attorney in Texas?

probate process houstonIf you are currently contemplating representing yourself in the courthouse, you have to expect that it will be trickier than you think. In most situations, probate courts require you to have an attorney as your legal representation. In selecting one, consider the following good qualities:

  • Experienced – Experience is essential in any practice area for providing assurance. Aside from the number of years of experience in estate planning, you should also consider the type of experience that they have. Hire a lawyer with extensive experience in probate and assisting clients in need.
  • Excellent Ratings – You must take your time evaluating the law office you intend to hire. Aside from checking their background, you should also take into account the feedback they receive from their clients. Navigate through the firm’s website to learn more about it. An excellent rating indicates effective legal help.
  • Extraordinary Background – Don’t feel bad if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience; it’s one of the best qualities that any probate lawyer can have. Look for someone unique who stands out from the rest of the law offices.

Chargois Harper is a law firm with numerous excellent attorneys with unique legal experience. Atty. Sherlyn Harper is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Atty. Kirk A. Chargois was enlisted in the U.S. Army, and Atty. Burton J. Harper is a Political Scientist and Public Administrator. With more than three decades of legal experience, we can establish a good reputation in Texas, allowing us to obtain excellent reviews from our previous clients. Our strongly dedicated legal service can help you attain your desired outcome. 

What is probate?

The purpose of probate is to prove the validity of a deceased person’s will and that their assets can be accurately distributed. In Texas, probate is optional when the deceased person only left a minimal estate. However, in cases where the estate is significantly large or a dispute has arisen over the will, a probate proceeding is required. A probate lawyer can assist you in determining whether or not probate is necessary according to your case.

Probate cases might seem straightforward, but Texas probate laws necessitate legal representation in almost all cases. A probate lawyer from Chargois Harper has the experience required to determine what actions are most applicable for any given circumstance and your options to get the best possible outcomes.

The Texas Probate Process

Like any other legal procedure, the probate process requires precision. An experienced attorney will guide the executor of a will. First, the petition is filed before the court. This should be done within 30 days after the death of the decedent. After filing the petition, the executor should present the will to the court, including all interested parties. The court will decide whether the will is valid or not and whether the executor’s application for probate should proceed.

If you are regarded as the will executor, you must understand the entire process and know your responsibilities. Contact an experienced probate attorney for guidance now. 

  1. File the petition – In filing the petition, it must include the legal document and requirements:
    • Date and time of death;
    • The state where the decedent resided;
    • List of heirship;
    • Description of the assets; and 
    • Personal information of the executor or administrator, such as name and property address.
  2. Appoint an Executor – Following the petition filing, the court will appoint an executor. The appointed executor will have the primary duty of overseeing the entire probate process. Normally, the executor’s name is written in the will. If the executor is unwilling or unable to serve, the court will choose someone else. Its responsibilities include securing assets, paying taxes and debts, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries.
  3. Set a Court Hearing Date – After the executor has been appointed, the court hearing will be scheduled. The hearing will typically occur within 30 days after filing the petition. The executor will present the interested parties as well as the will to the court. The court will decide whether to grant the petition and whether to grant the executor’s request.
  4. Inform Beneficiaries and Heirs – After the probate is approved, the executor must notify all the beneficiaries and heirs of the probate estate. The notification shall be made in writing, and certified copies of the last will and testament must be attached to it. The beneficiaries and heirs have the legal right to contest a will if they want to.
  5. Inventory Assets – This includes the inventory of every personal property, including real estate, bank accounts, and other things. The executor must also determine which of the assets can be probated and which cannot. Probate assets are owned by two people jointly but do not have a beneficiary. Non-probate assets are those that pass beyond probates, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts with beneficiaries.
  6. Pay Taxes and Debts – After the inventory of assets, the executor is required to settle the outstanding taxes and debts. This includes medical bills, funeral expenses, and credit card debt. Taxes include federal, state, and estate taxes. The executor is duty-bound to ensure that all taxes and debts are paid before the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.
  7. Distribute Assets – The final stage in probate is the distribution of assets to their heirs. Usually, it is done following the terms of the will. The assets are distributed according to Texas intestacy laws when there is no will. The executor’s duties are completed after the assets are distributed and the probate process is completed.

Call our Houston Probate Attorney Now!

As mentioned earlier, even though Texas will not require you to have a probate attorney in all cases, it is worth noting that the entire process will not be as straightforward as you might think. The probate proceedings, statutes, handling the necessary court forms, and other pertinent paperwork can be hectic if this is your first time dealing with probate issues. That being said, getting excellent legal representation is highly advisable.

In every probate matter, our legal team at Chargois Harper is dedicated to providing effective assistance. Besides probate, we also handle family law and estate planning concerns. If you need help from an experienced Houston probate lawyer, setting up a consultation today should be your next step. 

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