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What Is Probate Court?

Probate Court Attorney Houston, Tx

Losing a loved one is painful for the entire family as it is. Additionally, unresolved conflicts can arise between the deceased and other family members. The suffering is made worse by having to deal with creditors.

Dealing with the unfinished business of a departed family member is unthinkable, but it does happen. You can resolve some disputes peacefully without going to court. However, probate litigation is frequently the critical legal path when you cannot reach an agreement.

Fortunately, Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law is here to help. Our Probate Lawyers have the skills to arrange and present an accurate picture of one’s financial situation. We can help adequately preserve your estate while fighting for your rights.

Inconvenient legal proceedings shouldn’t go along with your grief. We at Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law have successfully handled probate administration and dealt with probate concerns in Texas for more than 30 years. 

Our Probate Lawyers uphold the demands of our clients to the highest standards. To learn more, you can consult us with the following:

  • What You Need To Know About the Probate Law
  • Is Probate Necessary in Texas?
  • What Is the Probate Process in Houston, TX?
  • Why Should You Hire a Houston Probate Lawyer?

Our Houston probate attorneys can assist you with any probate matter. Managing the estate of your loved ones doesn’t have to be something you have to deal with alone. Contact us immediately and consult with a knowledgeable probate lawyer!

What You Need To Know About the Probate Law

Family, friends, and loved ones go through a painful and trying period when a loved one passes away. Also, those left behind must learn how to manage the decedent’s estate. You could either transfer or inherit them. The term “decedent’s estate” refers to the possessions you leave behind when you die.

In most cases, you must appear in court to transfer or inherit property after someone passes away. Additionally, dealing with the courts and a deceased person’s property is complex.

However, there are situations when family members or relatives may be able to transfer a dead person’s property without the need for legal action. 

Generally speaking, probate is the legal procedure for gathering and allocating a deceased person’s assets. The distribution of a person’s assets is specified in their will. However, the executor of the estate cannot just begin carrying out the instructions in the will.

They must demonstrate the will’s legality. This process of approving the executor and validating the will is known as “probating a will.”

Is Probate Necessary in Texas?

In Texas, there is no necessity that each will undergo the probate process. However, you can only carry out the terms of a will through probate if the deceased passes away and leaves one.

The beneficiaries could not obtain their inheritance without probate if the decedent did not title or structure their property in a way to avoid probate.

You must go through the probate process to transfer assets that are part of the probate estate. Any property held exclusively in the decedent’s name without any beneficiary designation would fall under this category.

Depending on how the relevant assets are owned, some estates might not be subject to the probate process. Estates may occasionally be eligible for streamlined probate procedures. In general, if you’re unsure which provisions of Texas’ probate legislation must be followed for a particular will, it’s preferable to seek legal guidance from a lawyer.

How Long Does Probate Take?

The majority of probate cases go between three and six months. But, if conflicts emerge, the procedure may last longer. Typically, it takes 30 to 45 days for a will to be accepted by the probate court.

Remember that you might need to hire a lawyer if you’re involved in an estate probate. Texas’s probate laws can be complex, but a lawyer can explain them to you and guide you through the process so that you can make the best decisions possible.

What Is the Probate Process in Houston, TX?

Texas has a reasonably detailed procedure for probating a will, and an attorney is typically needed to help the executor navigate it. Within 30 days of the decedent’s passing, a petition must be filed with the court as the initial step. 

The court will name an executor and establish a hearing date after receiving the petition. The executor will present the will to the probate court and any interested parties at the hearing. The court will decide the validity of the will and whether to grant the executor’s request to start the probate process.

If a will names you as an executor, you must comprehend the probate procedure and your duties. You can defend your interests and manage this convoluted probate process with the assistance of an experienced lawyer.

File a Petition with the Probate Court

In Texas, submitting a court petition is the first step in the probate process of a will. The petition must be submitted 30 days after the decedent’s passing and be signed by the executor or another interested party, like a beneficiary. 

The petition must specify the decedent’s death date and the county where they were a resident when they passed away. You should also include a list of the deceased’s heirs and a breakdown of the deceased’s assets. Lastly, it needs to provide the executor’s name and address.

Appoint an Executor

An executor will be chosen by the court to manage the probate procedure when the petition is submitted. In most cases, the executor is named in the will. 

However, if there isn’t a will, or if the named executor is unable or unwilling to serve, the court will name a replacement. Locating and protecting assets, covering debts and taxes, and allocating assets to recipients are just a few of the executor’s many duties.

Set a Hearing Date

The judge will choose an executor and then schedule a hearing. Usually, the hearing takes place within 30 days of the petition’s filing. The executor will present the will to the court and any interested parties at the hearing. The court will decide the validity of the will and whether to grant the executor’s request to start the probate process.

Notify Heirs and Beneficiaries

The executor is responsible for informing all beneficiaries and heirs of the estate once probate has been approved. If there is a will, it must be included in the written notification along with a copy. Beneficiaries and heirs can challenge the will if they so choose.

Inventory Assets

Inventorying the decedent’s assets is the next step in the probate process. This step covers all assets, including real estate, possessions, and financial accounts. Determining which investments are subject to probate and which are not is another task for the executor. 

Assets in probate are those that belong to the decedent alone or jointly with another person but do not have a designated beneficiary. Assets that pass without going through probate include life insurance policies and retirement funds with designated beneficiaries.

Pay Debts and Taxes

After the assets have been listed, the executor is responsible for paying any taxes and bills that are still owed. Credit card debt, medical bills, and funeral fees are examples of debts. 

Taxes include inheritance taxes as well as state and federal income taxes. Before transferring assets to beneficiaries, the executor must make sure that all liabilities, including taxes, have been settled.

Distribute Assets

The transfer of the decedent’s assets to beneficiaries completes the probate process. Normally, this is carried out in accordance with the terms of the will. But, in the absence of a will, Texas’s intestacy laws will govern the distribution of assets. 

Probate is concluded once assets have been divided, and the executor’s responsibilities are finished as well.

Why Do I Need a Probate Attorney in Houston?

Some states mandate that an attorney participates in the probate procedure, while others do not. And even in states where a lawyer is not necessary, it is typically preferable to at least speak with one. 

Texas is one of the states that does not mandate that an attorney be involved in a will’s probate. However, there are some situations where a lawyer may need to be contacted or hired. 

An attorney can offer helpful advice and counsel, for instance, if the inheritance is complicated or there are disagreements among the heirs. To learn about your rights and obligations, get legal advice from a probate attorney

It would help if you ultimately chose whether or not to hire an attorney to assist with will probate on a case-by-case basis. It is usually better to seek advice from an experienced legal practitioner if you have any queries or worries about the procedure.


Schedule A Consultation With Our Houston Probate Attorneys

We understand the devastation that comes with losing a loved one. Furthermore, we are aware of how complex Texas’s probate regulations are. Even getting lost in the specifics of the legal process is possible. Get assistance with your estate plan, including last wills, guardianship, or probate litigation and administration.

The Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law provide legal assistance with probate issues and estate disputes. Our firm’s Houston probate attorney offers a broad range of legal services for all your probate needs.

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