Probate Solutions in DFW

//Probate Solutions in DFW
Probate Solutions in DFW 2016-11-02T20:35:56+00:00

Probate Services

  • Probate Administration
  • Probate Litigation
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Administration
  • Wills and Trusts

Compassion and Respect through the probate process

Losing a loved one is difficult and the responsibility of handling their affairs can be overwhelming, especially when you are located in another state.

If you are faced with the challenge of selling your loved one’s personal, investment or commercial property you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are settling through probate, a trust or a conservatorship we are here to help you every step of the way.  The probate process can be a daunting experience for someone who has never been through it before.  At Kingmen Property Solutions, we can help guide you efficiently and effectively through the probate process.  Depending on the nature and complexity of the Estate, you may need minimal help in navigating the probate process, or if the Estate is more complex, you may need more extensive help in which we can pair you up with an experienced and qualified probate attorney.

Our team at Kingsmen Property Solutions is compassionate, knowledgeable and experienced. Regardless of which option you choose, we will help you with every detail and our commitment to seamless service means the only thing you have to do is contact us. We’ll do the rest.

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Probate Attorneys in DFW
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What is probate and when is it necessary?

An estate in Texas is comprised of all of the assets owned by someone at the time of their death—for example—cash, real estate, stocks, bonds, life insurance, retirement accounts, cars, etc.

The probate of someone’s estate refers to the process by which a Court recognizes that person’s death and authorizes the administration of that person’s estate. The probate process applies both when someone dies leaving a will, or when someone dies without a will.  The process requires that all of that person’s property will be gathered, their debts paid, and their remaining assets be distributed according to the provisions of the will.  If they died without a will, then the property will be distributed according to Texas law regarding intestacy (dying without a will).

Sometimes probate isn’t necessary and assets can be transferred to the new owner without probate.  For example, community property with right of survivorship, property held as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, payable on death bank accounts, life insurance proceeds, or survivor’s benefits from an annuity are when probate is not necessary.

Our desire is to assist you and your family with compassion and respect as you work through the probate process. Hopefully this will make the loss of your loved one a little less difficult.

Probate Real Estate Solutions

  • RENT OR LEASE PROPERTY
  • LIST and MARKET PROPERTY
  • SELL TO CASH BUYER
  • ESTATE SALE or GARAGE SALE
  • COORDINATE CHARITY PICK UP
  • REMODELING
  • FINAL CLEAN AND HAUL OFF

What kinds of probate are there in Texas?

Texas has two kinds of formal probate and some other simpler transfer procedures as well.

Independent Administration of Estates:

Most Texas wills direct the named executor to pursue independent administration, because it’s quicker, simpler, and less expensive than the alternative, dependent administration. Even if the will doesn’t provide for independent administration (or there isn’t a will at all), the executor or administrator can ask the court for authority to act as an independent executor if all beneficiaries agree. Independent administration means the executor:

  • does not have to post a bond (an insurance policy protecting the estate against losses caused by the executor’s careless or dishonest acts)
  • does not have to ask court permission before taking many steps to settle the estate, such as paying debts, setting aside a family allowance, selling estate property, and distributing assets to the people entitled to inherit them.

An independent executor still must publish notice to potential creditors and file an inventory of assets with the court. The executor must collect and safeguard estate assets until it’s time to transfer them to their new owners.  The executor is entitled to a fee (called a commission) of five percent of all money the estate receives and all money it pays out. Only transactions that have to do with managing the estate—for example, paying bills—are counted. Money that was in the estate at the time of death or that is distributed to inheritors is not counted.


 

Dependent Administration of Estates: 

It’s less common, but executors can also request dependent administration, which entails greater court supervision of the probate process.

The “muniment of title” process is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to transfer estate assets when there’s a will.  (Tex. Estates Code Ann. § 257.001.) It can be used when:

  • there is a valid will
  • there are no unpaid debts, except those secured by  real estate, and
  • Medicaid has no claim against the estate for recovery of benefits received by the deceased person.

To get the process started, someone files the will, and a request to probate the will as a muniment of title, with the probate court. If the court decides there’s no need for probate administration, it admits the will into probate as a muniment, or evidence, of title to the estate assets. Essentially, the will serves as the document that transfers the assets to the persons or entities named in the will to inherit them.  The court doesn’t appoint an executor or administrator. The person who requested probate as a muniment of title, however, is required to file an affidavit (sworn statement) with the court within six months, stating that the terms of the will have been carried out (or, if some terms have not been carried out, which ones).

In certain circumstances, the people who inherit don’t have to open a probate court proceedings or use a muniment of title. If there is no will and total value of the probate estate is $50,000 or less, then the people who inherit property can prepare a simple affidavit (sworn statement) to collect the property.
Texas executors can use a simplified small estate process if the value of the property doesn’t exceed what’s needed to pay the family allowance and certain creditors. (Tex. Estates Code Ann. § 354.001.) The executor presents an accounting showing where the estate money went, and the court approves it and closes the estate. Similarly, if, after expenses of the funeral and last illness have been paid, the remaining assets don’t exceed the amount of the family allowance, the court can issue an order of no administration. In that case the court assigns the estate assets to the surviving spouse and/or minor children. (Tex. Estates Code Ann. § 451.003.)

Texas Probate Process: A step by step Guide

With all of this information at hand, it will be much easier to understand the typical process of how to probate a will in Texas. The steps are as follows:

  • Step 1: Filing With The Court. The process is fairly easy to start. Whether a will is present or not, an application for probate must be filed with the proper Texas probate court in the county where the decedent resided.
  • Step 2: Posting Notice of Probate Administration. After the probate application is filed, there will be approximately a two week waiting period before a hearing is held for the application. During this time, the County Clerk will post a notice at the courthouse stating that a probate application was filed to serve as notice to anyone who may contest the will or administration of the estate. If no contests are received, the probate court proceeds in opening the administration.
  • Step 3: Validating the Will: After the waiting period, a hearing will be presided over by a Texas probate judge. He will legally recognize the decedent’s death and the jurisdiction of the court over the case; verify that the decedent had a valid will or that there was no will; and appoint an administrator or verify the person named as Executor.
  • Step 4: Inventory of Assets: Once an Executor is officially named to the estate, they must catalogue and report all the assets held by the estate.
  • Step 5: Identifying beneficiaries: If the decedent had a valid will, the Executor will notify beneficiaries of the estate. In the event no will was filed, the probate court is charged with the task of determining heirship in Texas.
  • Step 6: Notify Creditors: Most decedents leave behind debts that must be resolved out of their estate. Medical bills, mortgages, household expenses, etc. will be paid from the estate. Before they are paid, however, creditors must be notified of the decedent’s death by the estate’s Executor and given the opportunity to file claims against the estate. This can be done with a notice published in the local newspaper.
  • Step 7: Resolving Disputes: If family members or other potential beneficiaries are contesting a will in Texas or file other grievances, these will be heard by a probate court judge and resolved before the estate can be finalized.
  • Step 8: Distributing Assets: Once the debts and expenses of the estate are resolved and any contests of the will are cleared up, the remaining assets of the estate are then distributed to the beneficiaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

The first thing to focus on of course is the funeral. It must be planned and paid for, or at least a plan needs to be made for payment. You should look through all the available records to see if there was a prepaid funeral contract. This may be kept with or near a will or estate planning file. The deceased may even have left instructions about what kind of funeral or other service he or she might want. You should look for this information. Texas law gives a priority to claims for funerals, so if you or someone else has to pay for the funeral, you should keep receipts of your expenditures and plan on presenting a claim to be reimbursed.
In general, the will must be submitted for probate within four years of the date of death. If more than four years have elapsed since the date of death, it may still be possible to probate the will, but a more complicated procedure is required.
What needs to be done will depend on the nature of the assets. Sometimes a full court procedure, called a “Determination of Heirship,” is necessary. In other cases, a less complicated approach, such as an affidavit of heirship or small estates affidavit, can be used.
Yes. Unless title company will take affidavit of heirship, probate is the cheapest and quickest solution.
Assuming you have probated the will and been named executor by the Court, you can evict your sister. You will probably need an attorney to help with the eviction. A grandchild does not have homestead rights in her grandmother’s house.
At minimum, you need to probate your mother’s will in the County where she resided at the time of her death. At attorney’s assistance is required by the Court to appoint an executor, so you need experienced probate counsel. Further services could be required depending what, if anything, was done with your dad’s estate.
Just for clarity because I don’t think the law is different anywhere, in Texas, a power of attorney terminates with the death of the principal, in this case your mother.
If you “can’t probate the will” that left you the house, then the house isn’t yours. In some circumstances, you can establish title by living in a place and paying taxes, which is called adverse possession. That is a risky way to try to establish title, and you would probably have to bring suit after the time period to clarify title. I’d say, it is highly likely that a better use of your money is to use it to be make a down payment on a new home. I definitely wouldn’t pay any more taxes without consulting an attorney.
As to the “stuff” this is a classic case of what I call the “pickup probate.” Which means: the first one to the house with a pickup wins. Cruel, but true. Yes, you can sue your grandparents and uncles, but pursuing such a case won’t be worth it unless the stuff includes some very valuable items.. You refer to probate of a will, so the will controls and an executor should be named. The house thus can be transferred to you by the will, but getting the stuff back is hard to impossible.
The house won’t be yours unless your mother leaves it to you in a will or you are her sole heir. POAs do not authorize you to use your mother’s assets for your personal benefit. If your mother needs the equity of the house to pay her medical care, you would be obligated to sell the house. So, neither the fact you have lived there, have her POA, or have been her caregiver give you any ownership interest in the house.
You’re focused on the mortgage, but you need to focus on the title. My question is, “why is the house only in the husband’s name?” If that is because he acquired it before marriage (likely) that means it is his separate property. If he dies without a will, then that property will be owned by his descendants, if any, but the wife would have a life estate. If you want your wife to have 100% ownership of the house upon your death, you need a will. Changing the mortgage won’t change title. See a lawyer about basic estate planning documents: wills and powers of attorney.