I try to streamline the probate process for my clients and make it as easy as possible for them. I’ve built a questionnaire form on my website so when you hire me I send you a link to it via email. You simply click on the form to open it and it has about three pages of questions. You can fill it out or save it and come back to it. You can even upload documents we will need like a will or a death certificate. It keeps everything in one place and it’s really convenient; you can fill it out from your smartphone or on your computer.
We prepare the paperwork and get everything ready for you. Our firm files it with the court, communicates with the clerks, and pays all the court fees. There is really not much else for the client to do until the hearing. A lot of times I have clients who don’t live in Texas and it doesn’t make sense for them to come all the way down to Texas just to get appointed as executor of an estate. What we can do is appoint our attorney as a registered agent. You just sign a form, notarize it, and send it back to me, and then we can complete the hearing without the client having to travel. I can go in front of a judge and answer all the questions to get you appointed executor even though you are in another state.
Another service that I provide is I negotiate debts. A lot of times there are large medical bills, credit card debts, and other things that haven’t been paid. What a lot of people don’t know is that those companies don’t want to hire probate attorneys to try to collect a debt on a credit card or hospital bill. Most of the time, they will take pennies on the dollar. Sometimes I can even get them to waive it completely. By negotiating on behalf of our clients, we can save them a lot of money.
We also post the required notices to the creditors in the newspapers for our clients. We notify any secured creditors of the estate and we really try to do as much as possible for our clients, so that they can have peace of mind and not have to stress out about upcoming deadlines or what they have to do next. The last thing we do is an inventory. We’ll work with the client and compile an inventory that we have to report back to the judge after they’ve been appointed as executor. We really go above and beyond to make the process comfortable for our clients so they can get back to their lives.
What Actually Is Probate?
Probate can be many things. There are many different types of probate, so it has a lot of different definitions. What probate encompasses is, when someone passes away, transferring their assets to their family members or whoever they left them to in their will. Probate is that overall process. Probate is actually a Latin word that means “to prove.” The old English courts considered probate your opportunity to show up with a will and prove that you are the one who the assets of an estate should be transferred to. It’s not just for families, it’s also to protect creditors and the state.
Is There More Than One Type Of Probate?
There are at least eight different routes to go through probate court. When someone passes away without a will, for example, that is called an “intestate” probate. We have to appoint another attorney, called an ad litem, and have a whole other proceeding in front of a judge to prove who the heirs of the estate are. It’s oftentimes more expensive and more burdensome on the family, and that is why attorneys always recommend making a will. If you have a will and you go through probate, it’s usually just one hearing where you have to go in front of a judge. We only have to walk you through a few questions, and it is always much simpler and a lot cheaper.
Those are the two big variants of probate. There is also, for smaller estates, a version called a small estate affidavit where you might not have to go through the full-fledged probate process. Another one is called a muniment of title. It’s where there is a will, but it doesn’t really make sense to go through a whole probate to get an executor appointed. We show up and testify to the judge that there are no debts on this estate and we just want to transfer the title to the assets. The judge admits the will and we record it in the deed history of the property, and then we are done. We don’t have to report to creditors; we don’t have to post anything in the newspapers and it’s a lot quicker and easier. It saves the client time and money.
For more information on Assisting Clients With Probate In Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 851-1248 today.