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Do You Need a Lawyer for Probate?

 Posted on November 10,2023 in Estate Planning

Denton County Estate Lawyer

Probate is the formal legal process of validating a will in court and appointing a designated person to manage an estate and distribute assets to beneficiaries. 

While you are not required to hire an attorney, the process affords no room for error. If you make a mistake, the probate process could be prolonged, stripping you of your time and money.

If you need to probate an estate, you will need the services of a Denton County probate and estate administration attorney.

How Does the Probate Process Work?

Probating a will is required if the decedent holds any assets in his or her name alone. While there are situations in which you can avoid probate, many times, assets do need to move through probate. If an estate needs to be probated, the will does not go into effect until the process is completed.

The probate process begins when the executor (appointed by the deceased in the will) files an application with the court. After you file an application, interested persons will be notified that the will is up for probate. These interested persons may be heirs, beneficiaries, or anyone related to the deceased. These interested parties are notified of the probate hearing, including the date, time, and location. 

The court will schedule a hearing to review your application. At this hearing, a judge will review the will to make sure it meets the requirements under Texas law. If all the requirements are met, the will is entered into probate. Once the court makes its ruling, the court will issue the letters testamentary. The letters testamentary give the executor the power to carry out the terms of the decedent’s will.

What if a Person Dies Without a Will?

It is an entirely different process if someone dies without a will. In that situation, the estate will be divided according to the state laws of intestacy

Even if you are married at the time of your death, your property will be divided based on whether it is community or separate property. Community property is property that is acquired during the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, is either property that was acquired before the marriage or was acquired during the marriage through a gift, inheritance, or through a personal injury settlement.

How Long Do I Have to Probate an Estate?

According to Texas Estates Code § 256.003, you only have four years after the testator’s death to admit a will to probate. This limitation period means that if you attempt to probate a will after the four-year period has passed, then the court may consider the will to be invalid.

Why Should You Hire a Probate Lawyer?

If you are an executor or estate administrator (in the case of there being no will), you are representing beneficiaries, heirs, and other third parties. In the case of there being a trust for minor children, you may also be representing a ward. 

While you are not required to be an attorney to serve in a fiduciary role (i.e., executor or guardian), you are required to hire a licensed attorney to probate a will in Texas.

A probate lawyer knows the ins and outs of probating an estate. Your attorney will know which court forms need to be filled out, the correct order of the forms, and the timeline for turning each one in. The process should be left to an experienced Flower Mound probate and estate administration attorney.

Speak with a Flower Mound, TX, Probate and Estate Administration Attorney Today

If you need reliable legal assistance following the death of a family member, you need the legal services of a skilled Denton County, TX, probate and estate administration attorney from Colbert Law Group PLLC. Contact us today online or by calling 972-724-3338 to schedule your initial consultation.

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