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What Is Probate, And Why Do You Need A Webster Probate Lawyer’s Help?
When a Webster resident passes away without an estate plan in place, the Texas probate court steps in to distribute your loved one’s assets according to the terms of their will (if they left one behind) or according to the state’s intestate laws. Certain assets may not need to go through probate, and spouses may be able to avoid the process by asserting something called “right of survivorship.” However, if probate is required, then there are many steps and legal tasks that you may need to complete. You have to present the will to the court for validation, collect and inventory assets (and have them appraised), formally notify beneficiaries and creditors, settle outstanding debts, pay taxes (if applicable), and more.
All of the legal lingo and paperwork involved in probate court may make your head spin; it can be a lot to handle, especially while you are grieving a loved one’s passing. You’re never better off navigating the process on your own. A lawyer who focuses on probate is familiar with every aspect of the process and can offer you reliable legal advice that can make your experience much easier.
What Are My Options?
In some cases (but not always) you may be able to choose which type of probate court your loved one’s estate passes through. The four types of probate in Texas include:
As the most common form of probate in Texas courts, independent administration may only apply if all beneficiaries can agree on this method. This agreement allows you to skip the legal permissions of the probate court and handle the distribution of the assets with no court supervision after an inventory of the assets or affidavit has been filed.
A more expensive and time-consuming process of dependent administration may need to occur if the estate is larger, if the beneficiaries cannot agree, or if there was no will present. In this form of probate court, the personal representative must run everything by the court and have it approved. On the one hand, this can provide more legal protection for the representative, but it can result in more court fees and take longer to resolve.
Muniment Of Title
If a will exists, but unpaid debts and Medicaid claims don’t, and the only assets involved in the process are real property and cash accounts, then Texas may allow the will to be probated as a muniment of title. No executor or representative will be appointed; the will’s contents will be validated and passed on exactly as stated in the will.
Small Estate Affidavit
If no will exists and the estate values under $75,000, it may fall under the purview of a small estate affidavit. This legal proceeding replaces traditional probate with a sworn statement prepared and submitted to the court.
Our experienced Webster probate lawyer at The Law Office of Michelle E. Murphy will take the time to listen to your story, get an accurate picture of your circumstances, and help you determine whether or not your deceased loved one’s estate needs to go through probate and if so, what type of probate you may be able to undergo based on your goals and the specifics of the estate.
The Drawbacks Of Probate
Probate may take up to a year to complete. It rarely requires less than six months of legal proceedings. If no will exists, family members dispute the will, or the designated representative lives elsewhere in the United States, the probate process may take longer than a year to finish. This, along with the mountains of paperwork and court appearances, can be incredibly stressful.
What’s also stressful is the potential for liability. If you are named as the executor or personal representative, and you make mistakes such as missing deadlines or failing to fulfill your legal obligations, you could incur additional fees or even be sued.
Why Choose The Law Office Of Michelle E. Murphy To Help With Probate?
Probate isn’t fun, and it’s the last thing that you probably want to be doing when you’re reeling from a loved one’s death, but if it has to occur, it is in your best interests to work with a Webster probate lawyer who understands what you are going through and what you need to do to put this behind you. Our lead attorney, Michelle E. Murphy, has over 20 years of experience in probate law. She takes a personal approach to advocating and guiding you, and she can serve you virtually to make this journey more convenient! Call today to schedule a free consultation where you can ask questions and learn about your next steps.
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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