WHAT IS TEXAS PROBATE?
Has someone you loved passed away? Probate is the process in which your loved one's property gets settled under the laws of Texas. Typically, consulting with an experienced San Antonio Probate attorney is your best "first step" under these circumstances.
If a properly drafted Will is left by the deceased person, then an independent administration is possible. This is an ideal situation because lawmakers in the state of Texas purposely created a more simple, efficient probate process under Independent Administrations. It allows you to navigate Probate with very little court supervision.
If a proper Will was not drafted by the deceased person, then you'll have to go through the probate process using a different option. Most of these options are more expensive, time consuming, and complicated.
There are many types of probate processes, including: An independent administration, dependent administration, an Heirship process, a Small Estate Affidavit, among others.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN TEXAS PROBATE
If you were named the Executor of a Will, the first thing you should do is consult an experienced Probate attorney. Your attorney can help you begin the Probate process and understand exactly what needs to be done to secure the estate property.
Expect to be in charge of locating and organizing the deceased's property and debt information. This includes physical property like real estate and vehicles, as well as bank accounts and debt accounts. A complete inventory is usually taken of the estate assets. Your attorney will then help you submit the proper Probate pleadings to begin the process.
If you're dealing with an Independent Administration you can expect one simple court hearing. Although, if you are involved in an Heirship proceeding or a Dependent Administration, this could involve multiple court appearances.
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HOW LONG DOES PROBATE TAKE?
The Texas Probate process can vary in length depending on the types of assets and liabilities included in the estate. For instance, in an independent administration or small estate affidavit with a small amount of property and a small number of beneficiaries, the process could last a few months.
Though, in more complicated matters, where there are multiple beneficiaries, a large amount of property, multiple debtors, and children involved, the process could take years. If children are involved in the estate and guardianship has not been determined, this could prolong the process even more. Your San Antonio Probate Attorney can help guide you through the steps needed to make the process as efficient as possible.
DO I NEED A PROBATE LAWYER?
There are many areas of law that might be conducive for a do-it-yourself approach, though Probate is usually not one of them. Probate includes a strict, time sensitive process that involves filing the proper pleadings with the Probate Court, appearing before the Probate Judge, sending the right notices to debtors and beneficiaries, and keeping a close inventory of the property and debts of the estate.
In most probate matters the law requires an administrator or executor to be represented by an attorney. Your San Antonio Probate attorney can listen to your family's situation and help you decide the best path in accordance with the laws in your area.
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