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Experienced San Antonio Probate Attorneys

What Is Probate?

last will and testament

Probate (not to be confused with probation) refers to the process of administering a deceased person’s estate following their death. Typically, if a will exists, then probate is overseen by the executor of the will. If there is no will, a probate court or a court-appointed representative will oversee the process. The process of probate establishes the authenticity and validity of a will or determining the legal heirs in the absence of a will. It may also involve paying outstanding debts or taxes or appraising the property of the deceased.

Probate of a Will as a Muniment of Title (No Administration)

One should always consider the possibility of probating a loved one’s will as a muniment of title. This process is unique to Texas law and allows loved ones the opportunity to avoid the necessity of court-supervised administration of the decedent’s estate. If you have a valid will, you may be able to transfer title to real property and even vehicles without an administration. If you can avoid having to formally probate a loved one’s will, this will save you time, stress and money. This procedure should be considered, as it is often a less costly alternative to other forms of probate, such as a dependent administration. Probating a will as a muniment of title is particularly effective in the following situations:

  • The will states a named executor but he is not made independent.

  • The will’s named executor is unwilling to serve, dead or otherwise disqualified.

  • The will specifies no executor.

  • There is no real need to manage the decedent’s estate.

  • There is only a need to transfer title to realty and/or personal property from the decedent to his devisees.

  • The beneficiaries have failed to present the will for probate within the statutory four-year period.

Probating a will as a muniment of title is not always an available option. You may be able to proceed with a muniment of title when the court is satisfied that a will should be admitted to probate, and where the court is further satisfied that there are no unpaid debts owed by the estate of the testator, excluding debts secured by liens on real estate, or for other reason finds that there is no necessity for administration upon such estate.

  • Independent Administration (Unsupervised Administration)

  • Court-Created Independent Administration (Unsupervised Administration)

  • Dependent Administration (Court-Supervised Administration)

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

The process of handling a loved one’s will can be complicated and chaotic for family members. If there are any challenges to the will in question, an experienced attorney can help manage the case. Undergoing probate with a professional can be helpful if an estate is complex or if the heirs need assistance. Probate can be time-consuming, especially if you are unsure how the process works.

A lawyer can also help you prepare all the documents required for probate court, take care of any debts, and properly distribute the assets of the estate. If you have been named the executor or administrator of a loved one’s will, having the help of a probate attorney can help you better understand your rights and responsibilities.

Additionally, a probate lawyer can help you draft your own last will and testament so that you know your family members will be taken care of after your passing. This can include protecting inheritances and planning trusts. Having legal counsel in handling both your will and a loved one’s will can simplify the proceedings and help settle any disputes.

If you are in need of an experienced Texas probate lawyer, call the Law Offices of LaHood and Calfas today. We are here to help you navigate this process and ensure that your case is carried out fairly and responsibly.

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