Probate Guidance & Estate Administration
If you have been named the executor of someone’s estate, you probably feel honored and bewildered at the same time. What are you required to do under Texas law? How long do you have to discharge your duties? What sort of oversight do you need? At Perry & Associates our attorneys can guide you through the estate administration process, including out-of-state probate administration.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process by which a court legally validates a person’s will, which must occur within four years of their death according to Texas law. After the court has established that the will is valid and correct, the executor may go about discharging their duties. This typically involves:
- Collecting the assets of the deceased person
- Paying or settling any outstanding debts using the estate’s assets
- Paying all relevant taxes using the estate’s assets
- Identifying heirs (only applies if no will exists)
- Undertaking the division of assets to the heirs and other appropriate parties
Probate In Texas: Different Kinds
Estate executors often worry about court oversight requirements when performing their duties. However, there are different kinds of probate in Texas that have differing levels of court involvement.
- Independent Administration
Texas wills often stipulate that executors should pursue independent administration, which is a streamlined version of the probate process. This means that the executor does not have to post a bond, nor do they have to ask the court’s permission before paying debts, selling property, distributing assets, or other numerous tasks. Even if a will does not explicitly provide for independent administrations, courts will often grant them if all of the beneficiaries agree.
- Dependent Administration
In this version of the probate process, the court is much more involved in each step of estate administration. This is less common, but some wills specifically request it.
Representing Your Interests
In some cases, you may want to ensure that your financial interests are protected in a probate process. We provide robust representation in the event of a contested will or other probate litigation. If you have any reason to doubt the impartiality of a probate process, our experienced lawyers will work to ensure that the proceedings are fair.
We have offices in both Houston, Midland, and San Antonio.
Planning For The Future In The Present
Most people want to plan for the future, but they simply don’t take the time to do so, fearing that it will be overly complex or time-consuming. At Perry & Associates our attorneys will quickly and efficiently discuss your estate planning options and devise a plan that is appropriate. This allows you to transfer wealth to the next generation in the best possible manner. Our services include:
- Powers Of Attorney
In the event that you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your own finances and medical care, you should designate an individual or individuals who can act on your behalf.
- Living Wills
These document the specific kinds of medical care you would prefer to receive or not receive in particular situations.
Every adult should have a will, which ensures that your wishes are carried out after your death. Wills can address many aspects of your estate, from personal property to real estate, investments, and other accounts without an explicit beneficiary.
- Living Trusts
These are another way of transferring wealth and other assets, and they also have the benefit of not being subject to the probate process that can complicate wills. Our lawyers can help determine whether they are appropriate for your estate.
- Gun Trusts
Many of our Texas clients like to make specific plans for their firearms, which can be addressed through a gun trust. These special trusts ensure that your guns can be smoothly transferred after your death or incapacity, including automatic or silenced/muffled weapons governed by the National Firearms Act.
We have offices in Houston, Midland, and San Antonio.