Unfortunately, there are sometimes conflicts that arise regarding the estate of a recently deceased person. Estate planning documents like wills may be unclear, heirs may challenge them, and probate litigation may occur. In these cases, it is important to hire an experienced probate and estate attorney to represent you and advocate for your interests in court. There are other cases when a family may need legal assistance navigating the probate process without litigation or disputes. If someone has chosen you as the executor of their estate, you may need a probate attorney to guide you through the process. Contact Steve Touchy Attorney at Law if you need assistance handling a probate- or estate-related issue in the Houston, Texas, area.
Since 1983, Steve Touchy Attorney at Law has helped clients resolve their probate court issues. If you need an attorney with the grit, determination, and knowledge that comes from more than 37 years of service, call today.
The probate process is an arduous one that begins even before the executor initiates litigation. In fact, it begins before the decedent even dies. Every estate has to pass through roughly the same process, including:
Someone drafts their will, trust, or other estate documents. They’ll name their executor, who will be responsible for carrying out their wishes.
After they die, the executor files their estate with the probate court. The executor will need to include various legal forms with their filing, including an application, death certificate, and copy of the estate plan.
The court will determine whether the decedent’s estate plan was genuine.
If there are questions about the will’s validity or if there is no will, all of the decedent’s surviving family needs to be notified.
The executor needs to determine how much debt the decedent owned. Then, they’ll need to use the assets from the estate to pay off these debts.
What’s left over goes to the decedent’s beneficiaries.
Probate court is part of its court system separate from criminal or civil matters. The probate court’s only job is to oversee the distribution of a decedent’s assets. While this may sound easy, it’s a long and technical process. When a decedent names a layman as their estate’s executor, they’re not making it any easier. They’re expecting their executor to be able to navigate a legal institution that’s grown and evolved over hundreds of years without any help.
Instead, if you’re drafting your estate planning documents, choose your lawyer as your executor to help streamline the process. Additionally, if you’ve been selected to serve as an executor for your loved one’s probate and have no idea how to proceed, don’t panic. There’s no shame in calling an attorney to guide you through the process.
Calling a lawyer for help can help an inexperienced executor avoid expensive probate mistakes during the litigation process. An executor’s error can also add months of extra time to the probate process, which means that the estate’s resources will remain inaccessible to its beneficiaries.
If you are the executor of an estate and all of this information sounds confusing, don’t worry. Instead, call Steve Touchy Attorney at Law, a trusted, highly-regarded probate attorney of over 37 years. You can rely on him if you need guidance through the probate process. Call today to speak with a seasoned professional in Houston, Texas to handle your specific case.