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What Is Probate?
Texas enacts the probate process when someone passes away without legally transferring their assets to beneficiaries beforehand. Many people think that having a will is all that they need to make sure their family members receive their inheritance, but wills have to go through probate in order to be validated and carried out. Probate involves various legal tasks, including:
- Submitting the will to the probate court
- Notifying creditors and beneficiaries
- Taking inventory and appraising assets
- Paying debts and distributing assets
- Filing tax returns and paying taxes
These tasks are the responsibility of the executor named in the will. If no will was made, Texas probate courts use a specific process to handle asset distribution. In most of these “intestate” probate cases, the court appoints a personal representative, typically a family member who meets the basic requirements of a legal executor. Will executors and personal representatives alike may need help understanding the probate process and what steps they need to take in order to avoid liability, which is why hiring a Galveston probate lawyer can be beneficial.
What Are the Downsides of Probate?
No Control & Delay Of Receiving Inheritance
When a loved one passes away, and their estate has to go through probate, family members can’t take immediate possession of their estate. Instead, the Texas state government will require you to begin and complete the probate process before you or any of your loved one’s assets can be legally transferred to you and the other beneficiaries. For example, you may not be able to sell your loved one’s house or even make renovations until the probate process is complete.
Probate can take anywhere between 6 to 12 months or more to finish. There are many factors that can affect how long probate takes, including the number of beneficiaries, whether or not there is a dispute over the validity of or contents of the will, the speed at which the Texas probate courts work, and more. Any mistakes can delay the process further.
Multi-Stage Process & Liability
The probate process requires you to meet challenging deadlines, pay exorbitant fees, and adhere to confusing legal requirements. If you hold the title of personal representative or estate executor, you bear the brunt of any fines or liabilities due to issues incurred during the probate process.
How Can A Probate Lawyer Help You?
If you are facing probate, your best option is to enlist the assistance of a Galveston probate lawyer who can determine if there is any way you can avoid probate, and if not, explain your next steps, answer your questions, and generally handle all of the paperwork and court communications for you so that you can focus on moving forward. Dealing with probate is a headache during an already difficult time; Attorney Michelle E. Murphy can simplify the process and prevent you from making costly mistakes. Her goal is to take the burden of probate off you by providing professional advice and representation. She can also help you create an estate plan so that your family will not have to endure probate when you pass away.
Types Of Probate
In Texas, beneficiaries of a loved one’s assets and belongings may face one of four types of probate processes. Which one will apply to you depends on your specific circumstances. A Galveston probate lawyer can more thoroughly explain each type of probate process and help you decide which probate form is right for you.
This is one of the most common types of probate. It depends on a will designating a particular executor, who can then carry out probate duties. If the document shows no executor, all beneficiaries must agree with the distribution of assets.
This type of probate leans heavily on court supervision, and usually needs to occur if beneficiaries cannot agree on fair distribution, or if there are creditor issues, etc. Dependent administration may take longer to conclude and cost more money to resolve.
Muniment of Title
Faster and more straightforward than the previous two types of probate, and unique to the state of Texas, this process allows the court to serve as the estate executor if real estate is the main asset involved. Once they validate the will, they can transfer the title to the intended beneficiaries so long as there are no unpaid debts, no unresolved health claims, and few other assets to be distributed (otherwise, independent administration may be necessary).
Small Estate Affidavit
For estates with a total value of less than $75,000, this sort of probate consists of a sworn statement submitted to the court instead of a full, traditional probate proceeding.
Are You Facing Probate Court in Galveston, TX?
Don’t take on the probate process without a knowledgeable Galveston probate lawyer on your side. Whether you are experiencing a probate issue or have just lost someone and aren’t sure whether you need probate, call The Law Office of Michelle E. Murphy to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation. Attorney Michelle E. Murphy has over 20 years of experience guiding grieving families through probate. You can rely on her to give you the caring legal support you need, save you time, money, and stress along the way, and make a difference in how quickly and easily your case is resolved.
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Ms. Murphy made sure to use all of her resources and did everything legally possible to help me. She fought harder than other lawyers out there and found ways to make everything work in my favor. I really appreciate how she helped me and made me feel at ease under the worst circumstances. I recommend her highly.
Why Choose Us?
20+ Years Of Experience
Personalized Attorney Attention