When our clients and potential clients come to us after the death of a loved one, there can be a lot to think through in terms of distributing assets and getting affairs in order. One important process is the probate process, which happens when a Texas court distributes any of a decedent’s assets that are not already transferred by trusts or direct payments. The individual’s remaining assets are reviewed by this court, and the judge presides over the distribution process to ensure that everything is done fairly.
Step by Step: The Probate Process
Even if a recently deceased loved one had a will, that person’s estate will likely still have to go through the probate process. This essentially means that the individual’s executor or personal representative must file an application in a Texas court to let the court know that the individual has died and to request the court’s probate administration services.
Next, the court will hold a hearing on the decedent’s estate. Typically, the court will post some kind of announcement informing the public of the upcoming hearing so that anyone that thinks they have a right to be involved in the probate administration can have notice that the hearing will take place. At the hearing, the judge will begin by making sure the decedent’s will is valid and will hold up in court.
The decedent’s personal representative is then in charge of making a list of every asset and debt in the individual’s estate. This can be a complicated process, especially if there are complex properties or unpaid debts to deal with. After this process is complete, the representative will notify the decedent’s beneficiaries or the people that are in line to receive assets from the estate in question.
At times, this step in the process can be contentious since it is common for family members and loved ones to disagree about how the decedent’s will should be interpreted. If there are disagreements about who receives which property, the probate court’s judge will hold a hearing to determine how the will should be interpreted.
At that point, the assets are distributed, and the probate process is complete. This entire process can take anywhere from three months to several years, depending on the property and individuals involved. Though the entire process can be long and daunting, having an experienced probate attorney on your side can make sure everything goes smoothly so that you and your family leave nothing to chance.
Are You Looking for a Probate Lawyer in Houston?
At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we understand the value of providing diligent, efficient and effective probate services to the Houston area because we take pride in providing certainty and peace of mind to our clients and their families. We take the time, attention, and care to make sure you are set up well and to make sure your loved ones will be well taken care of in the future. For a consultation with one of our Houston probate attorneys, give us a call today at (713) 936-9073.