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Probate

Your trusted Houston, TX probate attorney

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Property Transfer After Death

Carrying the burden of suffering from the loss of a loved one and a financial loss is an unfortunate event that, in many cases, cannot be avoided. Since Estate and probate issues can be stressful for you and your family, the probate lawyer at the Law Firm of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, can help!

We will perform all of the legal duties involved in the probate of your loved one’s Will and trusts, and handling the probate real estate transfer so you appreciate the needed legal representation in court to reach your legal goals. This provides you the peace of mind you seek and deserve.

Our lawyer in Tomball, Cypress and Houston, Texas area is known for efficient and straightforward procedures. Probate in Texas is not cumbersome and can be completed within a month or two. To “probate” means the legal process where a court, with the Executor or Administrator, identifies the proper successor beneficiaries. Probate is a legal process in which assets after death, including property and estate of the deceased, will be legally transferred to the determined beneficiaries.

The rightful heirs or beneficiaries can include family, relatives, friends, and other loved ones. If there is a Last Will for the probate process, you should have the original Will to address its validation, authenticity, and identification of the property. And most importantly, seek out a probate lawyer that has been there and done that. Probate is also necessary when the deceased family member does not leave a Will. The property does not pass to the State, but you do need the assistance of a Texas probate lawyer.

Probate

Real estate investors often look to scoop up probate property for cheap.  States require proper real estate transfer of the estate property prior to a closing being allowed, so in most cases, if there is real estate, probate is required, and therefore it is impossible to avoid probate.  Life insurance can help cover any estate tax from the distribution of assets, but usually you do not see estate tax anymore with the high exemption amount for estates.  Debts owed by the estate can be satisfied at closing of the real estate transfer.

Speak with Houston’s #1 Probate Attorney today. For more information on navigating probate matters and questions about estate planning and probate litigation, schedule a free phone consult to see what issues you face with your loved one’s estate, and how our Houston probate lawyer can get you where you need to be.  We represent clients in Texas throughout the Northwest Houston, Spring, Magnolia, Tomball and Cypress areas. Call the above phone number or Contact Us.

If you don’t have time to call and need more information, please see our Texas Probate Process Summary page by clicking here.  You will find it very informative.

The starting point for any probate attorney case is whether or not there was a Will for the Decedent.  See below for the analysis on probate options depending on whether or not there was a Last Will & Testament at the time of death.

Real estate investors often look to scoop up probate property for cheap.  States require proper real estate transfer of the estate property prior to a closing being allowed, so in most cases, if there is real estate, probate is required, and therefore it is impossible to avoid probate.  Life insurance can help cover any estate tax from the distribution of assets, but usually you do not see estate tax anymore with the high exemption amount for estates.  Debts owed by the estate can be satisfied at closing of the real estate transfer.

Speak with Houston’s #1 Probate Attorney today. For more information on navigating probate matters and questions about estate planning and probate litigation, schedule a free phone consult to see what issues you face with your loved one’s estate, and how our Houston probate lawyer can get you where you need to be.  We represent clients in Texas throughout the Northwest Houston, Spring, Magnolia, Tomball and Cypress areas. Call the above phone number or Contact Us.

If you don’t have time to call and need more information, please see our Texas Probate Process Summary page by clicking here.  You will find it very informative.

The starting point for any probate attorney case is whether or not there was a Will for the Decedent.  See below for the analysis on probate options depending on whether or not there was a Last Will & Testament at the time of death.

Was there a Will or Not?  Yes Or No?

If the answer if ‘Yes,’ then you have two very good options, which are 1) probate the Will in probate Court, or 3) probate the Will in Court as a Muniment of Title only.

Answer: Yes

  1. Probate of Will in Court: this is the traditional method for probating a Will.  The Will is filed with an Application to Probate the Will, and the Court appoints an Executor.  The Executor is in charge of the Estate, as well as distributing the assets to the beneficiaries and filing an accounting with the Court for the Judge to sign.
  2. Probate of Will as a Muniment of Title:  this is a less desirable way to probate a Will, but this procedure is most useful when dealing with a Will that needs to be probated more than four years after the Decedent passed away.  Click the link in the title for more info.

Answer: No

If the Decedent did not have a Will, you have various options depending on the circumstances:

  1. Judicial Determination of Heirship: this is the formal legal process for establishing who has inheritance rights from a person who dies without a Will.  This will transfer title to real estate and personal property.
  2. Judicial Determination of Heirship with Administration: this is the formal legal process for establishing 1) who has inheritance rights from the Deceased, and 2) who is in charge of the Estate as the Administrator.  This is the best way to probate an estate.
  3. Small Estate Affidavit: you can use this if there is no Will and the Decedent only had less than $75,000 in assets, excluding the house.  See our page for more explanation and limitations.
  4. Alternatives to Probate: there are several alternatives to probate that are available, depending on your situation.
Probate

Was there a Will or Not?  Yes Or No?

If the answer if ‘Yes,’ then you have two very good options, which are 1) probate the Will in probate Court, or 3) probate the Will in Court as a Muniment of Title only.

Answer: Yes

  1. Probate of Will in Court: this is the traditional method for probating a Will.  The Will is filed with an Application to Probate the Will, and the Court appoints an Executor.  The Executor is in charge of the Estate, as well as distributing the assets to the beneficiaries and filing an accounting with the Court for the Judge to sign.
  2. Probate of Will as a Muniment of Title:  this is a less desirable way to probate a Will, but this procedure is most useful when dealing with a Will that needs to be probated more than four years after the Decedent passed away.  Click the link in the title for more info.

Answer: No

If the Decedent did not have a Will, you have various options depending on the circumstances:

  1. Judicial Determination of Heirship: this is the formal legal process for establishing who has inheritance rights from a person who dies without a Will.  This will transfer title to real estate and personal property.
  2. Judicial Determination of Heirship with Administration: this is the formal legal process for establishing 1) who has inheritance rights from the Deceased, and 2) who is in charge of the Estate as the Administrator.  This is the best way to probate an estate.
  3. Small Estate Affidavit: you can use this if there is no Will and the Decedent only had less than $75,000 in assets, excluding the house.  See our page for more explanation and limitations.
  4. Alternatives to Probate: there are several alternatives to probate that are available, depending on your situation.

FAQ

What does a probate lawyer do?

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You might ask yourself, or “What questions do I ask a probate attorney?” A probate lawyer is an attorney who is practicing law with a practice focus on probate and estate administration. Probate law deals with Wills and how they translate into probate and estates. The probate process is a related practice to Wills and Trusts.

How much does an attorney charge for probate?

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Legal representation by an attorney in connection with wills and trusts for probate is usually done by a flat fee, if possible. Probate lawyer fees vary widely depending on the probate attorney’s experience. Obviously, an experienced probate attorney with decades of experience will charge more in probate lawyer fees than a newly licensed lawyer. Tax law can come into play for the beneficiary or heir to a Will or other asset. When trying to determine for yourself the question, “how much does it cost to hire a probate attorney,” it is usually less than four thousand dollars.

Is a lawyer needed for probate?

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If you ask yourself, “Do I need a probate lawyer?” then the short answer is — probate law regarding probate and estate administration does not require a probate attorney who is practicing law in the related practice of the probate process. However, just like with a broken leg, you are not required to see a doctor to set your broken bone — you are far better off hiring an attorney who has a practice focus of legal representation of individuals concerned with probate and estates.

What do I need to bring to a probate lawyer?

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You should bring your experienced probate attorney the following:

  • The Last Will & Testament (if there is one) & all Wills & Trusts of the deceased.
  • The Death Certificate (if you already have it — if not, that is fine to go without it)
  • Any available bank statements for any accounts that did not have joint account holders
  • Any letters received from life insurance companies for life insurance policies that will pass through the probate estate for the family member
  • A list of questions to ask a probate attorney
  • Any business corporate books that spell out the agreement of the owners of any business owned wholly or in part by the deceased
  • Any Transfer on Death Deeds made prior to the deceased’s death
  • Recent retirement account statements from all retirement accounts owned by the deceased (and make sure to not take action that triggers tax law)
  • Any Living Trust that the deceased is a beneficiary of (meaning a Living Trust that he/she did not create — as segregated from the above reference)

What questions to ask a probate attorney?

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You should find out the following:

  • How long the attorney has been practicing probate law with a practice focus on probate?
  • Who gets what and in what percentages under the Will or heirship law after my loved one’s death?
  • Is the Will a valid Last Will & Testament under Texas law?
  • What if I do not get along with certain members of my family?
  • What if I do not get along with certain members of my family?
  • Who will be in charge of distributing the family member’s property?
  • How long will this process take?
  • When will I be able to transfer property and gain access to bank accounts?
  • All of the above are very relevant questions to ask a probate attorney

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