If you are mourning the recent passing of a family member, let us first express our sincere condolences for your loss. Death is one of the most difficult events to navigate emotionally, financially, and legally. After your loved one has died, there are many steps that must happen before you and the other heirs can inherit their property. A legal process called “probate” must be completed under most circumstances. This process can be tedious, and there is a possibility that there can be disputes and delays. Your family does not need to undergo additional difficulties when you are already dealing with a loss and adjusting to life without your loved one. Thankfully, an experienced Texas probate lawyer can help make this hard time easier, providing compassionate and dedicated legal assistance to lessen the legal burden.
Because many people are unfamiliar with probate until they are facing it, many are unsure whether or not they truly need a probate lawyer’s guidance or if they can just work through the process themselves. Here are a few key reasons why working with a Texas probate lawyer is a good idea after a loved one’s death…
A Texas Probate Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Delays
The last thing that you want is for the probate process to take more time than necessary; the sooner you can resolve probate and put the legalities behind you, the sooner you can move forward with your life after loss, and grieve and heal in peace. However, there are a number of things that can delay probate, increasing your stress and expense.
One of those things is family conflict. Families may disagree over both the terms of the will and how the appointed executor (the person or family member in charge of overseeing the execution of the will and the distribution of the assets) is performing their job. Long-held tensions can boil over during this time of grief and confusion. In a worst-case scenario, these disputes can lead to bitter and costly court battles. A Texas probate lawyer can help your family prevent or resolve disputes before they can lead to litigation.
An attorney who understands probate can also help you meet deadlines on time and handle all of the paperwork and communications for you so that you don’t make other mistakes that could prolong the ending to the process.
Your Lawyer Knows How Probate Works Where You’re At
A Texas probate lawyer can serve as an extremely helpful guide through the complicated probate process and provide information on the probate court where you need to file the case. In Texas, probate cases are filed in specialized county courts. Each county may have slightly nuanced paperwork and procedures; learning and trying to follow the unique rules of a specific court may be more than you have the capacity for at the moment. Especially when you are probating a large estate, it is in your best interests to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the county’s process and who can ensure that everything goes smoothly.
A Lawyer Gets The Details Right
The probate process can be technical, and it requires plenty of paperwork. Courts may not extend any benefit of the doubt to you if the paperwork contains errors. If you are missing documents or you have made a mistake, the court’s response may be to send you back your documents and tell you to try again. In Texas, where even the most straightforward probate case can take an average of six months to get through, any paperwork mistakes can send you back to the drawing board, potentially adding months to an already long ordeal.
It’s not reasonable that a person with no experience in probate can fill out the paperwork 100% perfectly to the satisfaction of the court; a Texas probate lawyer will guarantee that no mistakes are made that lead to delays. They will handle all the filing for you, saving you hours of time and stress!
A Texas Probate Lawyer Can Protect You From Liability
If you have been named as the executor of the estate, you have legal obligations to fulfill. You must act to put the estate’s interests ahead of your own and act with “reasonable care”. Executors can actually be held personally responsible if something goes wrong during the process and/or if lawsuits are filed. Serving as an executor can be a difficult job, and you may not know exactly how to handle certain situations; a Texas probate lawyer can provide you with legal advice and serve as an overall adviser who can minimize your personal liability as much as possible and represent you in the event that you are accused of misconduct!
A Probate Attorney Can Help You Prevent Probate For Your Family
Once your loved one has passed away, there’s not much that you can do to avoid probate if it is required, but there are steps you can take to secure your estate and keep your children and family from ever having to go through the same thing when you pass away. Most Texas probate lawyers are also experienced in estate planning law, and can help you create the right legal tools – such as trusts – that will allow your loved ones to bypass probate when you die.
Hiring A Texas Probate Lawyer Is An Investment
Some grieving families are surprised by how expensive death can be, and think that they will save money by doing probate on their own. However, not having an attorneys’ advice usually ends up costing families more money down the road. All told, hiring a Texas probate attorney is an investment that you can make in your peace of mind and emotional well-being when you are already going through a major life change. Your attorney will take the time to listen to you, learn about your unique situation and needs, and answer all of your questions so you understand exactly what to expect. You can rest knowing that your matter is in the hands of an experienced professional who will work towards the most cost-effective resolution possible.
The Law Office Of Michelle E. Murphy Can Take the Stress Off Your Shoulders
Attorney Michelle Murphy has over two decades of experience in probate and estate planning law. Her compassion and knowledge of the specific challenges that estate executors and families face can make a difference in how quickly and easily your case is resolved.
Whether you are just beginning probate, are in the midst of proceedings, or aren’t even sure if your loved one’s estate will need to go through probate, call her office today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your next steps.