Who is the Best Probate Lawyer in Dallas, TX?
If you are wondering about who is the best probate lawyer in Dallas, TX then consider contacting us at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC. It has been our primary goal since opening our doors to be the answer to that question. The need for quality probate legal services is very high in Dallas. Hiring a law firm with inexperienced attorneys can be a disaster when it comes to probate issues, as decisions will be final. We work with families, individuals, and businesses as each can be involved in matters of probate.
To hear more about our estate planning services, including probate, call us today for a free consultation and learn for yourself who is the best TX probate lawyer in Dallas.
What is probate?
Probate is a judicial process that involves the Court and a person’s will after they pass away. Probate can be avoided, as we’ll talk about shortly, but very often it’s necessary. During the probate process, a court of law determines whether or not a will is valid. Upon declaring that the will is legal and valid, and the naming of an executor if necessary, the Court approves the distribution of the assets.
It’s also during the probate process that a will might be contested by someone connected to the will or by someone who can persuasively argue that they should be included in the will. If unexpected problems arise during probate, it will be best to have an experienced lawyer by your side in order to protect your interests.
How does the probate process work?
Before planning your estate and asking who is the best Dallas probate lawyer in TX, you may be wondering how the probate process works. The Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC assists individuals and families with their estate planning needs. We are also available to help you with the probate process after the passing of a loved one. This can be highly advantageous for your heirs as the probate process will lengthen the time it takes to resolve estate issues and subsequently distribute the assets. Call us for a free consultation to learn more about the estate planning services we offer.
How long does it usually take to probate an estate?
The average estate does not require years to conclude. Texas state laws mandate a period of time must pass during which the estate’s creditors will have time to file a claim for debts owed to them. Your probate lawyer can provide specific timeframes as to this creditor window, and how long it is likely to take for an estate probate process to complete.
- The state of Texas requires a public notice (an ad in the local newspaper will suffice) of when the probate proceeding for the estate will begin.
- The creditor “window of time” generally begins on the day the ad appears and will run for up to one year but is usually only for three or four months. Your probate lawyer can provide more accurate timelines based on the specifics of your circumstances.
- After the debt collectors have had sufficient time to file their claims against the estate, and all debts have been paid, the estate’s executor can distribute the remaining assets to the heirs.
- The typical time period for a probate to conclude is less than one year’s time.
To find out who is the best TX probate lawyer, we recommend consulting with a member of our legal team. At Brandy and Austin Law Firm, PLLC we can offer more insight about how the process might be accelerated.
What are the steps involved in the probate process?
It can vary somewhat, but the process for probate usually follows these steps:
- If the deceased did not leave a will, then the Probate Court Judge will name an executor for the estate. Usually the person named is an immediate family member of the deceased or a close family friend. The executor named as such will file the appropriate probate papers with the local probate court.
- If the deceased left a will and named an executor, that executor will file the appropriate probate papers with the local probate court.
- The executor will establish and provide proof (if necessary) as to the validity of the will.
- The executor will submit a list to the Court that includes details of the property involved, the outstanding debts of the deceased and their estate, and the individuals who will inherit which assets of the estate.
- The executor will notify creditors, family, and friends of the passing of the individual.
- The executor will locate, identify, secure, and manage the estate’s assets throughout the probate process and until they close the estate. This process can take as little as a month or as much as a year.
- The executor will determine if any of the estate’s assets must be sold in order to pay off the outstanding debts. Identifying those assets is at their discretion. Any cash in the estate can also be used toward the debt.
- The executor will sell assets as necessary to pay off the debt using the cash and assets contained within the estate.
- The executor will request the court to release short-term support funds from the estate if this is necessary until the probate process is completed.
- The executor will distribute the remaining assets contained within the estate to the designated heirs. If there was no will left behind by the deceased, the Probate Court will determine who should inherit the assets. Usually, that will be the surviving spouse, then the children, then the parents or other extended family members.
For what reasons might an estate’s probate take years to complete?
If you are faced with undergoing probate for a loved one’s estate, or if you are planning your own estate, contact our probate lawyer to learn how we can streamline the process for you. To learn more about the probate process and consult with the best Texas probate lawyer in Dallas, call the Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC.
Though it’s highly unusual for this occur, your probate lawyer from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC will have a very good idea of how long your or your family member’s estate may take to conclude the process based on the circumstances. There are three reasons why an estate probate process may drag on for an extended period of time:
- Inner-family disagreements. If one or more of the family members challenge the will or a ruling by the Probate Court Judge, this can delay the process significantly. It will also be more costly because of the court fees and lawyer fees associated with any litigation.
- The estate is quite large and complex. If the estate owes state or federal taxes, this can delay the probate process. As a result, it may be necessary to file a tax extension for paying those taxes. However, this is unusual because in excess of 99.5% of estates will not owe taxes of any kind.
- Continuing income for the estate. Again, this is rare. What it refers to is an estate that earns income. Usually this is more common amongst celebrity estates such as Elvis or Marilyn Monroe’s.
A question commonly asked of our probate lawyer is, will probate take years to complete? Typically, when an estate must enter probate, the estate’s heirs wish to conclude the process as quickly as possible in order to inherit their bequeathed assets and to put this chapter behind them. Our legal team understands this, and as such our probate lawyer makes every effort to speed the process up.
When is probate unnecessary?
The probate process can be avoided using several different methods which can be explained in more depth after you determine who is the best probate lawyer in Texas. Some of the most common methods used to avoid probate are these:
- Establish a trust in which you place your assets. There are several kinds.
- Each state has established its own “small estate threshold” which is a minimum dollar amount. Any estate valued at less than that amount can avoid probate.
- When all of your valuable assets are assigned to your beneficiaries and will automatically be transferred to them upon your death, your estate can avoid probate. A probate lawyer can help you with this process.
When comparing legal firms, we hope that your search leads you to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC. Call our office today to schedule a complimentary case review, to decide for yourself who is the best probate lawyer in Dallas, TX.