Trust Administration & Probate Attorneys in Houston
Estate Planning Assistance for Southeast Texas Residents
Trusts can be lengthy and complicated. When your loved one dies, you, the trustee, should seek legal counsel to help better understand and implement your loved one’s last wishes. Turn to a probate attorney for guidance. A probate attorney can help you settle your deceased family member’s debts and distribute their property and other assets.
What Is a Probate Lawyer?
A probate lawyer is also known as a trust or estate lawyer who helps a trustee with the probate process. Probate is the court-supervised process of validating a deceased person’s last will and testament. Some of the items a probate lawyer can assist you with include:
- Determining the value of the deceased’s assets.
- Distributing property and the remainder of the estate.
- Taking care of remaining bills, taxes, and other outstanding balances.
- Giving advice on the drafting of a will or living trust.
What Is the Probate Process?
The probate process asks you to file paperwork, collect inventory of the deceased’s property and assets, handle outstanding financial balances, and distribute the estate. You also want to adhere to the trust administration or the wishes of the deceased. This process is lengthy and often complex, so seek the help of an experienced probate lawyer.
The first step of the probate process is to request a petition to begin the probate process. You will need to file this petition in the county where the deceased person lived. This petition declares you as the executor of the deceased’s will. You will also need to file the deceased’s will and death certificate. After this is all completed, the court will schedule a hearing to approve you as the estate executor. If you are approved, then you will be able to make decisions regarding the deceased’s estate.
The second step asks you to send out a notice to all the creditors and beneficiaries of the deceased’s person’s death. In the state of Texas, the executor is expected to publish the creditors’ notice in a newspaper.
The third step has the executor prepare an inventory of the estate’s assets. All assets must be presented to the court. Estate assets may include:
- Retirement accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Bank accounts
- Personal items (pets, art, jewelry, cars etc.)
The fourth step consists of handling any outstanding bills and debt, including rent, subscriptions, car payments, etc. You will need to pay these debts with money from the estate.
The fifth step of the probate process is to distribute the rest of the assets to the proper beneficiaries and then ask for the estate to be closed.
Call our office at (281) 810-9760 or reach out to us onlineto learn more about our trust administration and probate planning services today.