Houston Probate Attorneys Easing the Burdens of Probate Off Our Clients’ Shoulders
Following the death of a loved one, beneficiaries, like kids or a spouse, may assume that they are fully entitled to all of the assets left behind by their loved one. The probate process, on the other hand, is the process whereby a judge determines if you have a valid will or not and then assets will be distributed accordingly. The larger the estate, the more challenging probate can be Probate can cause a great deal of difficulties and worry for you for your loved ones and executor(s). The process of going through probate can be made easier or more difficult based on various conditions, including whether or not a legal will exists. It is possible that the probate court may wind up taking responsibility for dividing the assets of your estate in accordance with the laws of the state of Texas in accordance with intestate succession.among the beneficiaries if there is no legal will in place for the estate.
Unless you have the proper assistance, probate may be a very stressful and time-consuming procedure that can take a while to complete. An experienced probate lawyer from our probate law firm can assist you with any of your probate needs. Whether you are an executor in charge of the estate administration process or a beneficiary that wants to ensure no disputes arise during probate our team of probate lawyers can give you the help you need. Get in contact with our firm as soon as possible so that we can begin working on making the probate process as simple and straightforward as possible for you and your family.
What is Probate?
The main goal of probate is to ensure that the assets of an estate are appropriately distributed and that any outstanding affairs of the estate are effectively settled. Following the grantor’s death, it is the responsibility of an executor, who is someone appointed by the grantor, to run the estate and distribute the assets of the estate during probate. When it comes to probate and estate administration, there are many moving pieces to keep track of.
Hiring a probate lawyer can aid you in assuming your responsibilities as an executor or in assisting you during the probate process as a beneficiary. In order to learn more about how we can assist you in making educated decisions during the estate administration process, please reach out to a probate lawyer from our Houston law office immediately.
What is an Executor?
During the estate administration process, an executor’s primary job is to keep the estate in the best possible condition. Maintaining an estate may appear to be a straightforward task at first glance, but in fact, it can be a big hassle and heavy undertaking. An executor could have a lot of different things to take care of during the estate administration process, from physically maintaining properties to keeping assets recorded and arranged, paying outstanding taxes and bills, and transferring the assets to the beneficiaries, among other things. Furthermore, if an executor is unable to execute their obligations in accordance with their fiduciary responsibilities, they may be held legally responsible.
Is Probate Really Necessary in Houston?
Probate is largely unavoidable for estates that did not have a trust set up prior to the death of the grantor. While it can be difficult at times, probate is crucial to ensuring fairness and closure to an estate. A probate lawyer from our law office can provide you with legal guidance during the administrative procedure of an estate. Over the years, our Houston estate planning attorneys have assisted a wide range of clients with all aspects of probate and estate administration. We aim to assist each and every person that comes to us in navigating this tough process with as little burden as possible on their shoulders.
How Do You Avoid the Probate Process in Houston?
Probate in Texas – the process which transfers your assets to your heirs – is expensive, lengthy, and often baffling, but a Texas probate attorney can prepare a revocable trust that avoids probate and ensures that your heirs receive their inheritance in a swift and less costly manner.
What happens in a probate proceeding? How will a Houston probate lawyer assist you, and when should you contact that lawyer? If you’ll continue reading, these questions will be answered, and you’ll also find out more about your options for estate planning.
The probate process inventories and then evaluates an estate’s properties and assets, satisfies the estate’s remaining debts and taxes, and transfers the remaining properties and assets as directed by the decedent’s will (or as directed by Texas state law if there is no will).
What Makes Avoiding Probate So Important?
The more you have, the more your heirs could lose in probate. The two best reasons for avoiding probate are the time it takes and the cost to your estate. Probate can tie up estates for months, sometimes for over a year, and the costs of probate can significantly lessen your estate’s value.
If a decedent owned properties in more than one state, probate can get much more complicated. For instance, if a decedent was a resident of Austin or Houston but also owned a house or a condominium in West Palm Beach, that property will be probated in the State of Florida.
Privacy may be another reason you should avoid the process. Probate is a judicial proceeding, so the details are a part of the “public record.” Anyone can find out what your heirs have inherited, so the probate process is to be avoided if your privacy – and your family’s – is a priority for you.
What Happens in Probate?
Probate is almost entirely paperwork. In many probate proceedings, there is nothing to dispute, so a probate attorney’s courtroom skills are seldom required. Instead, a Houston probate attorney completes paperwork, meets deadlines, and meets a variety of additional probate requirements.
In the probate process, the decedent’s estate pays executor’s fees, probate attorneys’ fees, court costs, appraiser’s fees, and other probate expenses. Probate court, however, isn’t unavoidable. One way that your estate can entirely avoid probate is if you establish a revocable trust.
What Is a Revocable Trust?
Setting up a revocable trust (also called a “living” trust) is one way to attempt to keep your estate out of probate court. A Houston probate lawyer can prepare the revocable trusts that meet the needs of most estates, families, and individuals.
For the purposes of probate, the assets and properties that you move into your revocable trust are no longer legally “yours” but instead legally belong to the trust. After your death, your trustee may transfer your properties and assets quickly to your loved ones without legal interference.
A revocable trust is similar to a will. In each document, you name the heirs who will inherit your property and assets, but revocable trusts do more. Revocable trusts may include your directions for medical treatment and name a trustee to handle your finances if you’re incapacitated.
Upon your death, a revocable trust transfers assets and properties to your heirs, but unlike a last will and testament, a revocable trust will help you keep property holdings, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and other assets from being subject to probate.
What Else Should You Know About Revocable Trusts?
You may amend or rescind a revocable trust at any time and for any reason you choose. If you’ve established a revocable trust but you have not reviewed or updated it in several years, or if the trust was established in a state other than Texas, it may need to be revised.
A trust lawyer can review your revocable trust or set up a revocable trust that benefits and protects you and your loved ones and provides you with peace of mind.
A revocable trust may not be your only option for avoiding probate. A trust attorney can review your situation to determine if other options are available to you.
Should You Have a Comprehensive Estate Plan?
Whether you prepare a last will and testament or set up a revocable or irrevocable trust, that document alone may not be enough to offer full protection to your estate and your loved ones. Let a Houston trust lawyer help you create a comprehensive estate plan.
Your estate plan should fully account for your financial, family, and personal circumstances. Your plan may include your will or trust, a financial power of attorney, and an advance healthcare directive. If you choose, your estate plan may also include:
- a “testamentary” trust that leaves assets to a minor, but in the care of a trustee, until the minor reaches a designated age, usually 18, 21, or 25
- a special needs trust – if you have a child or another loved one with special needs – that will provide for that person after you’re gone
- a charitable remainder trust, especially if you have no spouse or children and you would like to leave your estate to a charity
- a sub-trust inside of a revocable living trust which springs to life upon a certain event, which typically occurs upon the death of the 1st spouse and/or the 2nd spouse.
These are only a few of your many estate planning options. A good estate planning attorney will provide you with a detailed explanation of the full range of your options and will help you set up the estate plan that meets your needs and offers maximum protection to your estate.
Can a Probate Lawyer Simplify the Probate Process for Me and My Family?
Probate court is not something to be taken lightly. It may be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if the estate in question is enormous in scope. Our law office can represent you during probate so it does not have to be so mentally or emotionally taxing. Hire a lawyer from our firm today before beginning the probate process. A number of services are available from the injury attorneys at our law company, including assisting with business succession planning, organizing and distributing assets, and more. Call us at 713-489-7360 to get the help you need with probate today.