Services :: Probate
Probate occurs during one of the most difficult and emotional times for a family. When a family is grieving the loss of a loved one, there are legal issues that must be settled and a compassionate lawyer can guide family members through this process with as little disruption as possible.
Probate is the process in which the court recognizes a person’s death and oversees the payment of debts along with distributing assets to beneficiaries that were not transferred to another person via a Trust, Joint Ownership with a Right of Survivorship or by naming beneficiaries on a Life Insurance or Retirement Account in Texas.
Two Options in Probate when a valid Will exists
- Muniment of Title – this is when a valid Will exists and entails a transfer of ownership in property. No administration of the estate is needed and an executor is not appointed. There are minimal post-hearing requirements and can be filed more than 4 years after death.
- Probate the Will – this is when a valid will exists. It can be under an Independent or Dependent (Court involved) Administration of the estate and an Executor will be appointed to administer the Estate. Additional post hearing requirements are needed and filing must occur within 4 years of death.
Three Options when NO WILL EXISTS
- Affidavit of Heirships – This is when no valid Will exists. This type of affidavit is used to transfer Real Estate to Heirs where the sole asset of the estate is real property and is not viable for bank accounts and no Administration available.
- Small Estate Affidavit – This is when no valid Will exists. This type of affidavit is used to collect small amounts of money and must be under $50,000 of assets, such as a small bank account. A Small Estate Affidavit may, in some cases, be used to transfer title to real property that still qualifies as a homestead upon the death of the decedent. Also, assets must be greater than debts.
- Determination of Heirship – This is when no valid Will exists. This type of probate can be used to establish title to estate property where there is a combination of real and/or personal property and the estate has more than $50,000 in assets and does not qualify for a Small Estate Affidavit. Court will determine who the heirs are. Administration is available, if needed. An Attorney Ad Litem is appointed by the court.
At The Handley Law Office, we understand how difficult this time is for our clients. We will respectfully handle your probate needs while keeping in mind the emotional turmoil families face as they close the final chapter of their loved one’s life. Contact The Handley Law Office to set an appointment with a compassionate attorney. 281.703.3616 or Boyd@TheHandleyLawOffice.com.