empty texas court room used to discuss probate cases

Probate in Texas can be complicated and confusing. Whether you need help with probating a will or being appointed as the estate administrator, working with an experienced Texas probate attorney can make a world of difference.

The Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC offers customized probate services to clients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We have comprehensive knowledge of the Texas Estates Code and will work closely with you to navigate the process. Contact our El Paso office today to learn how we can help.

Understanding Probate In Texas

Probate is a court-supervised process to validate a will and appoint an executor to manage and distribute the estate assets. The executor’s role includes:

  • Petitioning the probate court to validate the will
  • Notifying the named beneficiaries and heirs
  • Inventorying and appraising the estate assets
  • Paying the decedent’s debts to creditors
  • Filing the decedent’s final income taxes
  • Paying federal estate taxes, if applicable
  • Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries

Notably, an executor is considered a fiduciary, meaning that they must always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and can be held liable for misconduct or mistakes. So having an experienced probate attorney is essential.

Is Probate Necessary in Texas?

Most estates must be probated unless the decedent had a trust-based estate plan. Also, certain types of assets are not required to be probated, including:

  • Property owned jointly with right of survivorship
  • Retirement accounts and life insurance policies with designated beneficiaries
  • Bank accounts with POD (pay on death) or “in trust for” designations
  • Property held in a living trust

Nevertheless, inventorying the estate assets and ensuring that the beneficiaries receive the inheritance intended for them requires the informed representation our firm provides. 

What Happens in the Probate Process if There Is No Will?

When a person dies without a will (intestate), an interested person, such as a family member or potential heir, must ask the court to be named the estate administrator. The court will hold a hearing to appoint this individual to administer the decedent’s estate. While the steps involved in estate administration are similar to the probate process, there is a difference. 

Rather than distribute the assets to beneficiaries named in a will, the assets must be distributed according to the intestacy laws of Texas, which prioritizes spouses, children, and parents. Given the potential for disputes to arise when a loved one dies without a will, it takes an accomplished probate and estate administration attorney to ensure the decedent’s wishes are carried out.

When Do I Need to File Probate Papers in Texas?

Although you have up to four years after the deceased’s death to file probate papers, you should file as soon as possible. There will be financial matters to handle, and you need to be appointed as the executor or estate administrator to gain access to bank accounts and control of the estate property. You can depend on our experienced probate attorney to guide you through every step of the process, from opening probate to settling the estate. 

What Else You Need to Know About Probate

Clients frequently have questions about matters such as executor compensation, probate duration, and the complexity of the process for larger estates. Executors can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the probate process, and they are entitled to statutory fees that depend on the size of the estate. A set fee may also be stated in the will. 

The duration of probate depends on the size of the estate. Generally, the process can take between 9 and 18 months. Small estates can be probated quickly and efficiently; larger estates may involve complex legal and financial considerations. The process can also become challenging if someone contests the will or if the decedent owned a business or property in multiple states.

Why Choose Us?

We are highly-skilled probate attorneys and compassionate people who understand the challenges of administering an estate. Our attorneys also know that no two estates are the same, and probate requires thoughtful consideration of the decedent’s wishes. You can depend on us to tailor a probate solution to your unique needs and provide knowledge, guidance, and emotional support during this difficult time. While some individuals may be able to navigate the process independently, our legal team can help you avoid costly mistakes. Above all, we can help to remove the stress from the process and protect your rights and interests.

Talk to An Experienced Texas Probate Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, we have a well-earned reputation as dedicated advocates who provide each client with compassionate, effective representation and dependable service. When you become our client, you will have comfort with our experienced probate attorneys by your side. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

 Carey Thompson is a probate attorney that serves clients in Azle, Dallas, Fort Worth, Keller, Saginaw, and throughout greater Tarrant County with any of their probate and estate administration needs.