1. What is Probate/Estate Administration?
Probate/Estate Administration is a legal process to wind up the affairs of someone that has died. One of the local probate judges’ calls probate a journey and your attorney acts as your guide. Having an experienced guide can make this difficult time easier. Probate is designed to accomplish three basic things:
  1. Collect and protect the decedent’s property
  2. Pay the decedent’s bills and taxes
  3. Distribute the remaining property and possessions to the proper people
2. What options do I have when a loved one dies?
Texas has many different options depending on your specific circumstances and having a good probate attorney can often save you money by selecting the best probate procedure for your situation. Your options vary depending on whether your loved one had a will or not as well as the amount of assets and debts the estate has.

3. My family member died with a Will, what are my options?

If a person dies with a Will, the options are generally better and less expensive than without a Will. They consist of:  the Traditional Probate of the Will; Probate the Will as a Muniment of Title; and Affidavit of Heirship.
The Traditional Probate of the Will allows the appointment of a person to oversee the process of winding up the decedent’s affairs and offer the broadest range of options to complete the job. Probating the Will as a Muniment of Title has very specific uses and requirements. It can only be used if the decedent has no outstanding debts and other restrictions. It offers many options and is often cheaper than the Traditional Probate of a Will because it involves no bills or administration of the Estate.  The Affidavit of Heirship can be used in very limited cases but is the least expensive of the probate processes. This is often a good choice when one spouse dies and the other will receive all of the property. It has some very strict restrictions and limitations.  You should discuss this option with a probate attorney.

4. My family member died without a Will. What are my options?
If the person dies without a Will the options are:  Affidavit of Heirship as listed in “3” above; Small Estate Affidavit, which can only be used for estates with less than $50,000.00 not including the decedent’s homestead; and Determination of Heirship which is the most expensive of the procedures but may be needed if the decedent has more than $50,000.00 in assets. You should discuss these options with a probate attorney.

5. What do I do next?
I can setup a free initial consultation to help you determine the best options for your specific situation and give you an estimate of the cost. To set up an appointment, please use the contact button at the top of this page. I would be happy to set up a free initial meeting with you.

6. What will happen at the initial meeting and what are my obligations?
This initial meeting is at no charge to you. I will review your situation and recommend a solution that best fits your needs. I will also quote you a price for the services we agree are needed. After the meeting, I will send you a letter with a recap of our agreement and the cost. If you elect to hire me to work with you, all you will have to do is sign and return the letter to me with the required deposit.