The “Probate Process”
The laws that govern probate are confusing. I have a will I made myself, but will it be considered valid and keep my loved ones out of probate court?
Many people are confused about the “probate process” in Texas. While most people understand that probate court is not some place they want their heirs to end up because of an invalid will, or no will; its can feel like the exact nature and laws governing probate are confusing.
For more than 25 years, I have been assisting individuals and families with all matters related to probate courts throughout Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. Here is a basic explanation of what probate is and how I can help.
Two General Components In Texas Probate
Probate matters upon the death of an estate holder: Under this component of the law, probate is a court proceeding through which an executor or administrator is appointed to inventory, value and marshal the assets of the decedent and distribute them to the heirs.
When the decedent has a will, the matter is said to be “testate” and the executor or family representative can administer the tasks per the terms of the will without court permission. This can reduce the cost of administration.
When there is no will, the matter is said to be “intestate” and the executor or administrator will typically need to ask permission for every action they plan to take, thereby increasing the cost of administration. It is important to have a knowledgeable attorney who understands the intestate probate process in order to avoid possible errors that often lead to disputes among heirs and beneficiaries.
Guardianship Of The Person And The Estate
The other important matter held by the probate courts is regarding establishing guardianship over the welfare and estate of an individual who lacks the age or capacity to handle their own affairs.
There are two types of guardianships: guardian of the person or guardian of the estate. If you are appointed guardian of the person, you will be responsible for the physical well-being of the ward (the incapacitated person). As guardian of the estate, you will be responsible for the financial/fiscal well-being of the ward. You may seek to be appointed both.
What Does It Take To Be Appointed Guardian?
A doctor will be required to submit a signed report stating the level of incapacity and ability of the ward to handle their affairs as required. There are additional reports and records required for court, and guardianships are frequently contested among family members. Your lawyer will need to understand the petition requirements, evidence required and timeline for events.