Law Office Of Seth K. Bell.

7801 Broadway St.
Suite 230
San Antonio, TX 78209

Call Now For A Free 30 Minute Consultation

(210) 987-3333

Law Office Of Seth K. Bell.

What Assistance Do You Provide To Clients Going Through Probate?

I take a full service approach to client representation throughout the probate process. The client has often lost a loved one and is grieving their loss while trying to manage their affairs. It can feel overwhelming. I assure them that we will get through this emotional time together and that they are in good hands in having me by their side throughout the process.

What Actually Is Probate In Texas?

Probate is a legal process by which the deceased’s estate is administered by the court after they die.

Is There More Than One Type Of Probate In Texas?

Testate and intestate probate proceedings are the two most common. Testate means the deceased died with a valid will. Intestate means the deceased died without a will. The probate process is much simpler when the deceased has a will. If the deceased died intestate, the laws of the State of Texas arbitrarily determine the disposition of their property at death. Your loved ones will be so appreciative that you took the time to have a will prepared that sets forth your wishes with respect to your possessions and designates a person you trust to manage the probate process.

What Factors Generally Set The Stage For Probate To Occur?

Death is most often the key factor. The probate courts also oversee guardianship proceedings where a guardian is appointed to manage the affairs of an individual who has been determined to lack the mental or physical capacity to manage their own affairs.

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have With Respect To The Probate Process?

The most common misconception is that only people with significant financial means needs a will. In Texas when you die with a will, the probate process can be very simple and inexpensive.

Does All Of A Deceased Person’s Assets And Property Go Through Probate?

No. Assets such as banks accounts, life insurance proceeds, 401k accounts, and IRA accounts can also pass to your loved ones outside of the probate process. Each financial institution that holds or manages these accounts have a simple payable on death form to fill out designating the person or persons you want to receive these funds upon your death.

Are There Ways To Avoid The Probate Process In Texas?

Probate is not always necessary if the deceased’s assets are solely non-probate in nature, such as banks accounts, life insurance proceeds, 401k accounts, and IRA accounts. If the deceased owned real estate, the will needs to be probated for the property to pass to the person or persons identified in the will to receive the property.

Who Are The Main Participants Or Players In The Probate Process?

The most significant persons in the probate process are the executor and the beneficiaries. The executor is identified in the will as a person trusted by the deceased to manage his or her affairs after their death. Most often the executor is a spouse or child of the deceased. The beneficiaries are identified in the will to receive the deceased’s possessions after their death. The executor is often also a beneficiary.

What Actually Occurs During The Probate Process In Texas?

  1. Client meeting at my office. This meeting is often with the executor named in the will and other family members. We review the will together to determine the deceased ‘s wishes set forth in the will and discuss what to expect in the probate process.
  2. File an Application with the court to admit the will to probate and authorize the issuance of letters testamentary. A letter testamentary is an official court document authorizing the executor to act on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
  3. Preparation by my office of a Proof of Death and Other Facts, an Executor’s Oath, and Order admitting the will to probate and authorizing the issuance of letters testamentary.
  4. Approximately two weeks after the Application is filed, a hearing attended by the executor and me at the probate court to formally admit the will to probate, formally appoint the executor, and authorize the issuance of letters testamentary. At the hearing, the executor signs the Proof of Death and Other Facts and Executor’s Oath in front of a court clerk. The judge signs the Order admitting the will to probate, appointing the executor, and authorizing the issuance of letters testamentary. Multiple letters testamentary are generated by the court clerk for the executor’s use and benefit.
  5. Preparation by my office of a Notice to Creditors and Notice to Beneficiaries.
  6. If necessary, negotiation by my office with the deceased’s creditors to settle any debts.
  7. Preparation by my office of an Inventory of the deceased’s probate assets to file with the court and an Order for the court to approve the Inventory.
  8. Preparation by my office of documents such as an Executor’s Deed to distribute the assets of the deceased to the beneficiaries.

How Long Generally Does The Probate Process Take In Texas?

The probate process takes 3-6 months depending on the size of the estate and whether claims are filed against the estate by the deceased’s creditors that need to be settled.

What Are Some Of The Common Costs Involved In Probate?

County probate clerk filing fees and county sheriff fees to post notice of the filing are approximately $300.00 depending on the county. Publishing a required Notice to Creditors is approximately $75.00 depending on the publication. I generally estimate $2,500.00 for an uncontested probate proceeding including costs and attorney’s fees.

Can Someone Realistically Navigate Through The Probate Process Without An Attorney?

In the probate process, a person is not appearing pro se representing himself or herself. You are present in the probate process as someone who is interested in the deceased’s estate seeking to be appointed by the court as the executor or administrator. I have never personally witnessed a person seeking to be appointed as the executor of an estate with attorney representation. Attorney representation does not have to be expensive. My office is willing to work with you on payment options.

What Generally Is The Ideal Outcome Once Someone Has Gone Through The Probate Process?

Prompt distribution of assets and settlement of any creditor claims against the estate. If the deceased had substantial health care expenses in the last months of their life, often the health care provider files a claim against the estate to protect payment. I work with the health care provider and the deceased’s health care insurance (often Medicare) to minimize or reduce entirely payment from the estate.

What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Probate Matters?

I take a full-service client first approach. I always keep in mind how I would want to be treated if I were sitting on the other side of my desk.

For more information on Probate Process In the State Of Texas, a free initial consultation of 30 minutes is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (210) 987-3333 today.

Law Office Of Seth K. Bell.

Call Now For A Free 30 Minute Consultation
(210) 987-3333