Serving Clients Throughout Fort Worth, Dallas, and Saginaw
The Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC provides a full range of estate planning and probate services to clients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Whether you need assistance probating a will or being appointed as the estate administrator, it can help to have an experienced Texas probate attorney by your side.
We regularly represent clients throughout Tarrant County and will work closely with you to carry out your important duties. Although probate can be complex, our legal team can help you complete the process quickly and efficiently. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.
What is probate?
Probate is a court-supervised process in which a will is validated and the executor is appointed to manage and distribute the estate assets. The role of the executor is to:
- Petition the probate court to validate the will
- Notify the named beneficiaries and heirs
- Inventory and appraise the estate assets
- Pay the decedent’s debts to creditors
- File the decedent’s final income taxes
- Pay federal estate taxes, if applicable
- Distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries
It is important to note that an executor is considered a fiduciary. This means that he or she must always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and can be held liable for misconduct or mistakes. For this reason, it is wise to consult with an experienced probate attorney
What happens 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 as 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 probating a will, there is a difference.
Rather than distribute the assets to the named beneficiaries, the assets must be distributed according to the Texas Estates Code, 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.
Is probate necessary in Texas?
Most estates go through the probate process unless the decedent had a trust-based estate plan in place. Certain types of assets are not required to be probated, however, including:
- Property owned jointly with “right of survivorship”
- Retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries
- Life insurance policies
- Bank accounts with POD (pay on death) or “in trust for” designations
- Property held in a living trust
Ultimately, inventorying the estate assets and ensuring that the beneficiaries receive the inheritance that was intended for them requires the informed representation our firm provides.
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 important 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.
What Else You Need to Know About Probate in Texas
Clients frequently have questions on matters such as:
- Executor Compensation — Executors can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the process, and are entitled to statutory fees that depend on the size of the estate. A set fee may also be stated in the will.
- Probate Cost/Duration — The cost and duration of probate depend on the size of the estate. Generally, the process can take between 9 and 18 months, while the cost (e.g. executor’s fees, attorneys’ fees, court filing fees), can range from 5 to 7 percent of the estate value
Although 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 challenges the will or the decedent owned a business or property in multiple states.
How the Law Office of Carey Thompson Can Help
While some individuals may be able to navigate the probate process on their own, our legal team can help you avoid costly mistakes. When you become our client, we will offer you trustworthy advice so that you can faithfully carry out your duties.
We understand that managing the estate of a deceased loved one can be an emotional burden and will help to lift that burden by providing you with compassionate, efficient representation. We also understand your concerns about costs, which is why we handle many probate cases on a flat fee basis. Above all, we can help to remove the stress from the process and will make sure your interests are protected.
Contact Our Experienced Texas Probate and Estate Administration Attorneys
At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC, our trusts and estate attorneys are highly regarded for providing our clients with informed representation when they need it most. If you need assistance with the probate and estate administration process, contact us today for 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.