Probate Lawyer Arlington TX
Our Arlington TX probate lawyer shares that probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s debts are paid off and any remaining assets will be distributed to their heirs, as named by them, or ordered by the court. Regardless of whether or not a will exists, the estate may need to be subjected to the probate process anyway. However, when there is no will, the court will be required to get involved. A probate lawyer serving Arlington TX will tell you that the court will generally name an executor of the will and will allocate the remaining assets according to the laws of the state. During the course of the probate process, it is certainly possible that someone could contest the will, or there may even be allegations against the executor. Regardless of how complex or straightforward the probate process is likely to be, it is important that if you are closely tied to an estate subject to probate that you consult an experienced Arlington TX probate lawyer as soon as you possibly can. The more time that the legal team at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC is given to navigate the complexities of your case, the better.
After a will has been filed with the probate court, there will be a number of steps to be taken by the executor, heirs, and/or an Arlington TX probate lawyer. Both creditors and heirs will have rights, privileges, and limitations that must be adhered to. Furthermore, the will can be reviewed by anyone as it is a public record. That said, it is certainly possible that not everyone involved will be satisfied with the provisions and results. If this should happen, a will contest may ensue. In this case an Arlington TX probate lawyer would need to prepare for probate litigation. This type of litigation is considered to be one of the most contested areas of the law, and tends to involve extensive arguments and a significant amount of time, and money.
Common Reasons that a Will May Be Disputed
There are a number of reasons to dispute a will, but most involve at least one of the following:
- Lack of mental capacity
- Undue influence
- Intentional interference with an expectancy
- Improper signing of a will
- Multiple wills exist
- Missing or stolen assets
In addition to the above, our Arlington TX probate lawyers want you to be prepared that probate litigation may involve:
- The construction of a will
- Determination of a will
- Elective share litigation
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Removal of fiduciary
- Surcharge action
In general, there is a certain period of time for which a will can be contested. In some states this is just 20 days; after which, you may be unable to litigate the estate. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you were the long lost child of a parent who died, and were not notified of their death for several years, you may be able to contest the will if you believe you should have been included in it, but were not. Before you make a decision on what to do about contesting a will, it is advisable to consult an Arlington TX probate lawyer in order to explore your legal options fully.
If you’re in need of a probate lawyer Arlington TX trusts, contact Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC. The administration of an estate through probate differs from state to state. There are a few peculiarities to the probate process in Texas and many find it difficult to navigate without the assistance or representation of a probate lawyer. If you are named as the executor in someone’s will or are the person in your family who is responsible for sorting through assets after a death, we can guide you through the process.
What Does Probate and Estate Actually Mean?
The top probate lawyer Arlington TX depends on can explain each and every step of the legal process. Probate is known as the legal process of managing and settling the estate of a deceased person who had a valid Will. Estate Administration is the legal process of managing and settling the estate of a deceased person who did not have a valid Will. In almost all cases, either Probate or Estate Administration is necessary to pass title of an asset from the deceased to a beneficiary.
As a probate lawyer Arlington TX counts on, we represent a variety of family members, executors, and beneficiaries during the probate and estate administration process. We advise clients about the most effective way to avoid and/or settle disputes related to an estate.
What is Probate?
When a person dies, their will must be submitted to the probate court nearest to the location where he or she lived prior to the death. If there was no will, or any kind of estate plan, the estate must still go through probate. An executor will be named in both situations, and he or she will have the responsibility of overseeing the process. Included in this process will be many tasks such as:
- Notifying all heirs who were named in the Will
- Notifying any creditors
- Filing owed state and federal taxes
- Gathering all assets
- Valuing assets
- Selling assets to pay any owed debt or taxes
- Distributing the remaining assets to the heirs
If there was no will, the court will follow the laws of intestate. In general, the assets will be distributed between the living spouse or children.
Does a Will Have to Go Through Probate?
In general, a will must go through probate. The exception to this may be when the estate is worth less than a certain amount, usually $20,000 to $40,000 (depending on the state). Additional ways to avoid the probate process is to place assets into a trust, or make use of retirement and life insurance accounts.
Contesting a Will
Unfortunately, it has become increasingly common for a will contest to occur. As a probate lawyer in Arlington, TX, we have handled a number of will contests on behalf of heirs who are being accused by a party that believes they should have been included in the will, but was not. We have also represented those who believe they were disinherited. Regardless of what party you might be, if there is a possible will contest, hiring an Arlington, TX probate lawyer is recommended. Reasons to contest a will might include:
- Undue influence
- Missing assets or money
- Lack of a witness
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Multiple wills exists
- Alleged forgery
The Cost of Probate
Without the necessary planning, the probate process can be very expensive. The estate must pay any owed debt and taxes, as well as court fees, executor fees, and legal fees. If the process is drawn out, because of a will contest or any other hurdle, these fees will accumulate. The estate can lose as much as 15 percent or more if precautions are not taken. Whether you are planning your estate or are preparing to go through the probate process, call a probate lawyer in Arlington, TX to find out how we can help you.
To Probate Or Not To Probate?
Not everything will need to go through the probate process and a seasoned probate lawyer Arlington TX trusts can find the most inexpensive route to handle an estate:
- Some banks accounts are held jointly — with a surviving spouse, for example. The funds in the account will go directly to the survivor.
- Life insurance payments are generally made without going through probate. There are exceptions if a trust owns the policy and not the deceased, or if the estate set up other life insurance trusts.
- Also, ownership of some real property held in joint tenancy will automatically transfer to the surviving joint tenant upon the death of the other. There is no need to probate some types of property ownership for title to transfer upon death.
A probate lawyer Arlington TX can count on can help you determine the size of the estate and the proper probate procedure to follow, if any is needed at all. A free consultation will help get a quick overview of your situation and legal professional can establish a game plan for your next steps.
Remember, every bit of information you can provide can help assist you in resolving any outstanding debts owed to or by the estate. If the deceased person owed money to any person or business, those debts would need to be paid from the assets of the estate before any other disbursements can be made, in most circumstances.
Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC has a probate lawyer Arlington TX respects. Our firm has helped many families through the complex probate administration process, both in contested and uncontested cases. We can also help you if no probate is needed, which is both efficient and cost-effective.
Schedule a Consultation with a Brandy Austin Law Firm Probate Lawyer
Call 800-958-4948 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. As an experienced probate lawyer Arlington TX believes in, we provide legal services for a diverse clientele in the areas and counties surrounding Arlington Texas, including Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, Navarro, and Ellis counties.
In Texas, it may be possible to contest a will with the assistance of an Arlington TX probate attorney when one of the following (or more) is applicable:
- Lack of witnesses to the document (also known as failure of form).
- The testator had dementia or another illness that rendered them incapacitated or unable to make sound decisions.
- The testator was influenced to draft the will according to the wishes of an influencer who persuaded to alter the will in their favor.
When an interested party of a trust asserts the trust was poorly, or improperly, created, or was created under specific circumstances that does not reflect the choices of the grantor, a trust contest might ensue.
For either a will contest or trust contest, you would need to have an Arlington TX probate attorney as your legal advocate.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
The trustee or personal representative of an estate has a duty to manage the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. If they act in their own interests rather than that of the beneficiaries, or acts irresponsibly in some manner, the beneficiaries can file a breach of fiduciary duty.
Failure to Account
Similar to a breach of fiduciary duty, a trustee or personal representative of the estate will have many obligations. Our Arlington TX probate attorneys will tell you that one of these will be to provide an annual accounting of distributions and assets, as well as other transactions. Failure to provide this may give way to an estate litigation matter. It is common for both a breach of fiduciary duty and a failure to account be included in the litigation.
Arlington TX probate attorneys want you to know that when a person with minor children dies, the children will be placed in the care of a guardian. If a guardian has not been named, and there is more than one family member who want to take care of the children, litigation can ensue. Litigation might also occur when a person believes the current guardian is abusing their role. These matters tend to be very sensitive and involve a lot of emotions. Having the right Arlington TX probate attorney at Brandy Austin Law Firm can make a difference in the way the case is handled.
Avoiding Estate Litigation
No one wants their estate to go through litigation. Through careful estate planning, it may be possible to minimize the likelihood of loved ones clashing during an emotionally charged period following your death. If you are prepared to plan your estate, or are considering updating a pre-existing one, talk with a probate attorney available in Arlington TX about reducing the potential likelihood of litigation.
Estate Litigation Matters Require a Lawyer
If you believe an estate has been improperly drafted or executed and you would like to challenge it, you should not delay in calling our wills attorney in Arlington TX at Brandy Austin Law Firm.
Reasons to Revise Your Will After Divorce
Getting a divorce is one of the most stressful ordeals a person can go through. You’re upset that your family has broken apart and aren’t sure what the future holds for you. As probate lawyers Arlington TX trusts, we know that revising your will probably isn’t at the top of your mind. However, making changes to your will is one of the first things you should do after getting divorced. Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC has provided you with a few key reasons why:
Your Ex-Spouse Could Inherit Everything
In wills shared by married people, our Arlington TX probate lawyers have often seen assets left to the living spouse. If you are divorced, you probably don’t want all your assets going to your ex-spouse. If you don’t make the necessary changes to your will, your ex will likely receive all of your assets should you pass away first. If you want to leave certain assets, like a summer house, to other family members, it’s best to revise your will soon with our Arlington TX probate lawyer.
You Want to Lessen Stress on Your Loved Ones
If you don’t update your will after your divorce, it could also result in a major headache for your family members. They might not be able to locate your ex-spouse or believe that certain assets should go to them instead. The last thing you want is to give your loved ones more grief to deal with. By making the necessary changes to your will, you can lessen the burden on your family members.
You Don’t Want Your Ex to Assume Guardianship of Your Kids
Arlington TX probate lawyers share that often, if one parent passes away, the other parent will most likely get custody of any minor children. However, if you don’t think that your ex is fit to take care of your children should you pass away prematurely, it’s more important than ever to make changes to your will. You will need to gather as much evidence as you can about your ex’s inability to care for your children and include it in your updated will.
You Need to Change Your Power of Attorney
It’s important that you contact a probate lawyer in Arlington TX to make the necessary changes to your will. The power of attorney is the person responsible for making all of your financial, legal and healthcare decisions should you become incapacitated. If you were married before, you likely listed your previous spouse as your power of attorney. Now that you’re divorced, it’s time to appoint another person as the power of attorney.
Why Brandy Austin Law Firm?
Our award-winning lawyers aim to make the process as smooth and easy as possible so that our clients can focus on grieving the loss of their loved ones rather than on tedious paperwork and fighting over assets. We act with empathy and understanding whilst remaining professional, objective and efficient during times when you may not be able to do the same. Years of experience and countless awards have proved each of our attorneys to be a probate lawyer Arlington, TX clients can count on to lead them through difficult times and to protect the wishes of the deceased and ensure that they are given effect.
Why do you need a probate lawyer in Arlington, TX?
Probate law is complex and varies from state to state. Therefore, it is crucial that you hire a probate lawyer Arlington, TX licensed and experienced who can help you to understand the intricate probate laws so that you make sure your wishes are properly given effect to. Without a will, your estate can be distributed according to default laws. If you execute a will but do so without qualified legal assistance, you may use terminology that leads to unexpected legal interpretation and effects. This would mean that your estate could be distributed according to default legal rules rather than your own wish or desire. Loved ones may be excluded from inheriting from your will simply because of a default legal rule. To take charge of the future of your assets and make sure that no-one decides how they are distributed apart from you, you need a qualified Arlington probate lawyer to guide you through the process.
No-one likes to think about their own passing, but the truth is that we will all pass on one day. Hopefully, it happens peacefully and naturally after a long and happy life. Sometimes, however, it can happen more suddenly or unexpectedly. The reality is that we never know for sure when our time will come. That is why it is best to be prepared for any situation so that you know that however you leave this world, your wishes can be given effect.
Apart from wanting to make sure that your wishes are given effect after your passing and your estate is distributed as you want it to be, there are other important reasons to hire a qualified Arlington probate lawyer. After one’s passing, one’s loved ones are left in a state of grief and sorrow; sometimes accompanied by shock and disbelief. This pain and emotional distress is often heightened by the further stress of having to deal with the probate process. If you have not clearly expressed your wishes for the distribution of your estate, your heirs may have to embark on litigation in order for the distribution to be determined according to default legal rules rather than your express wish. This can cause conflict amongst your heirs and add to the trauma which they are already facing. They can be bombarded with paper work, legal expenses and an emotionally painful process of having to prove their claim to your estate or disprove another’s. This type of situation can create lasting family feuds or split up families altogether. To avoid leaving your loved ones in this kind of traumatic and conflict-ridden situation, take the responsible choice and hire a qualified and compassionate probate lawyer Arlington, TX residents can rely on to protect their wishes.
Consulting with a Probate Lawyer in Arlington TX
If you’re recently divorced and ready to make the necessary changes to your will, you should meet with the experienced legal team at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC as soon as possible. Our Arlington TX probate lawyer can look over your current will and help you make the appropriate changes in a timely and accurate manner.