Admission of Wills for Probate in Houston
Estate Administration and Probate Lawyers Serving Texas
When a family member passes away, surviving relatives face the daunting task of concluding their financial and legal affairs. After a funeral and a time of mourning, survivors are advised to seek the guidance and assistance of an experienced probate lawyer to ensure a timely and orderly dispersal of their deceased loved one's assets.
At Hendershot Cowart P.C., our estate administration and probate attorneys can guide you through the probate process in Texas, from filing the will, attending the probate hearing, and notifying creditors and heirs – helping you overcome any obstacles along the way that may impede the successful administration of the estate, including probate litigation or will contests.
During what can be difficult and emotionally turbulent times, our team prioritizes close communication with our clients, and the preparation needed to reach positive resolutions.
Discuss an estate administration or probate matter with a lawyer from Hendershot Cowart P.C. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to request an initial consultation.
How to Probate a Will in Texas
Probate is a process by which the courts legally recognize a deceased person's (the decedent) death, settle their outstanding debts, and distribute remaining assets to their heirs. The process is designed to facilitate the transfer of a deceased person's estate, and when necessary, to protect the interests of both beneficiaries and creditors in the decedent's estate. In Texas, probate is handled in Texas’ Probate Courts.
We know this is a difficult time, and likely the first time you have dealt with the probate process, but it’s not ours. Our seasoned attorneys will file the appropriate documentation, make court appearances, and assist with all aspects of the will probate process.
Here are the general steps to probate a will in Texas:
- File the Will and Apply for Probate. When someone dies with an established will in place, the will must be filed with the proper court along with a written application to admit the will to probate and be appointed executor of the estate.
- The Probate Hearing. In Texas, a hearing takes place before a probate judge. During this hearing, the judge will recognize the decedent's death, confirm that the individual applying to be administrator/executor is fit to serve, and verify that the decedent died with a valid will.
- Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims. It is the executor's responsibility to inventory and appraise the deceased person's estate within 90 days of the hearing. Executor responsibilities also include notifying beneficiaries of the will, posting a notice to creditors, discharging debts, filing the decedent’s final federal tax return, and otherwise settling the estate. A probate attorney can assist with many of these duties.
- Resolving Disputes. The estate cannot be settled until all disputes are settled – from disagreements over the valuation of assets, contesting a creditor’s claims to an estate, or contesting the will. These disputes can be addressed before a probate judge but are more often settled through mediation. A probate attorney can represent your interests in any disputes.
- Distribution of the Estate. Once all the debts and any disputes are resolved, remaining assets are then distributed to beneficiaries.
Read our complete Step-by-Step Guide and FAQs on the Texas Probate Process.
It is not recommended that individuals or families probate wills without legal guidance. In fact, in Texas, the executor or administrator of an estate is required to be represented by a licensed lawyer before the courts. Texas does allow individuals to represent themselves in court; however, an executor is also representing the interests of heirs and creditors and therefore must be represented by a licensed attorney.
Other services our attorneys can assist with include:
- Heirship and estate administration
- Probate litigation involving an executor or trustee
- Contested wills
- Contested trusts
- Guardianship proceedings
Probate Time Limits
One of the most important things to consider when probating a will in Texas is that there is a limited amount of time from when the decedent passes away to when the will can be formally admitted for probate. There is also a limited amount of time to contest a will. This time limit, or statute of limitations, begins once an order to admit the will for probate has been signed by the judge. This means anyone who opposes the will and wishes to contest it has a limited time to do so.
- Admitting a Will – In Texas, the statute of limitations to admit a will for probate is within four years from the date of the decedent’s death. Probate courts may admit wills after the statute of limitations runs out, depending on the circumstances, but there may be additional challenges in the admittance process.
- Contesting a Will – Under Texas law, a will can be contested or challenged at any time after the will is offered to probate and up to two years after a will has been admitted for probate.
Our legal team has extensive experience helping clients understand their rights when it comes to the will probate process in Texas. Due to the time limits that apply in these cases, we encourage anyone who seeks to admit a will for probate, or contest a will, to reach out for legal assistance from our skilled and compassionate team as soon as possible. Ample time ensures time requirements are met, and that your case can be prepared with the meticulous care and attention it deserves.
When a Business Is Included in the Estate
When a deceased person's estate includes business interests, Hendershot Cowart P.C. is an ideal source of information, support, and help. As a full-service firm with a renowned business law practice, we have the insight and experience to handle many types of probate issues involving businesses and high-value assets.
Whether your goal is to continue the family business, liquidate assets, or divide business interests fairly, we can help. We encourage you to contact us today to learn more.
What Happens If Someone Dies Without a Will or the Will Is Disputed?
Our Houston law firm is also experienced in will contests, as well as trust and estate disputes arising out of a trustee’s or executor’s fiduciary duties. Our firm also defends fiduciaries in probate litigation.
If you find yourself involved in litigation over a loved one’s estate, you deserve time to grieve and mourn the loss of a loved one. Our lawyers can help you maintain your health and well-being by shouldering the legal burden of your case and streamlining the probate process for you.
Our experienced attorneys have helped clients navigate numerous probate cases and other disputes over estates with patience and compassion. We’re committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Texas Probate Attorneys: Step-by-Step Guidance to Probate Wills
From preparation and admitting a will for probate to meeting all requirements and navigating any challenges or disputes that arise, the probate process can be an unfamiliar and daunting experience for many. However, with the support of proven estate administration and probate attorneys like those at Hendershot Cowart P.C., you can receive the step-by-step guidance and advocacy you need to navigate the process as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Our legal team has extensive experience with Texas probate cases and is available to help you learn more about the process, your rights, and how to admit a will for probate. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
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