Probate is the official proving of a will. If you have unfortunately had someone close to you die you will soon learn it can be a legal mess on top of the emotional mess that accompanies the passing of a loved one.
Regardless of whether there is a will, there are several “probate” options available to surviving family members. You should speak with a probate attorney to explore these options.
Furthermore, there are two “administration” options – dependent and independent. Independent administration is much cheaper and less time consuming than dependent administration. This is because in dependent administration, the court must oversee and approve of the personal representative’s actions. Independent administration does not require court oversight and approval.
Temporary administration of a decedent’s estate is a necessity when the estate requires immediate supervision by a personal representative. This is generally allowed only when the decedent’s estate must be protected from an immediate threat, or deadline. This usually occurs when the decedent was a business owner, or when the estate must bring, or is in the middle of, a lawsuit. A temporary administrator may be appointed regardless of whether the decedent had a will.
Even when a decedent leaves a will and names an independent executor, there is a chance that the court will find dependent administration is necessary. In certain situations, if an independent executor fails to present the will for probate within 30 days after the decedent’s death the court may grant dependent administration of the estate in an estate “administration CTA,” or with the “will annexed.” While you do need time to mourn the loss of your family member, you need to contact a probate attorney within a couple of weeks to begin the probate process.
Probating a will requires a lot of drafting at the beginning of the probate process, regardless of whether there will be an independent or dependent administration. In addition to other documents, your probate attorney will likely have to draft some of the following: Application for Probate of Will, Citation, Order Admitting Will for Probate, Oath of Executor, Application for Administration, Inventory and Appraisement, Notice to Creditors.
Either independent or dependent estate administration essentially consists of four steps: initiate court proceeding, collect the estate assets, pay the creditors, and distribute the remaining estate assets. Yet, a personal representative independently administrating the decedent’s estate can do most of these things without court oversight or approval. A Tyler probate attorney in an independent administration will assist you as little or as much as you want them to in your work as an independent administrator.
Sometimes probating a will includes a “will contest.” This is where another person argues that the will is not valid – either before or after the will has been probated. There are many grounds for contesting a will, but all speak to whether a will is valid. Some of these grounds include whether:
If you are thinking of contesting a will, or if you need to defend a will contest, it is important you speak with a Tyler probate attorney first.
Even if there is a will, you have several options on how to “probate” the estate. These options are even less expensive and even less time consuming than an independent administration of the estate. These options are perfect for small estates, when all named beneficiaries of the will are in complete agreement, or when there are no creditors of the estate other than the mortgage.
These options include:
A proceeding to declare heirship is the legal process many people call “probate” when they talk about someone who dies without a will. This proceeding is not “probate” because it is not probating a will, but the end result is similar to what occurs when a will is probated – estate assets are collected, creditors are paid, and then assets are distributed.
This proceeding can be initiated by several different people – including any person who claims to be the owner of some part of the decedent’s estate, or by people claiming to be a creditor of the decedent’s estate.
At the end of the heirship proceeding, the court will declare the names and addresses of all the decedent’s heirs and their shares in the estate property. Also, a court may declare whether “administration” of the estate is necessary, and if it is then they will issue letters of administration for an independent administration.
Even if there is not a will, you still have several options on how to administer the estate. These options are much less expensive and much less time consuming than a dependent administration of the estate. These options are perfect for small estates, or there are no creditors of the estate other than the mortgage. These options include:
Ivy Law is open from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm during the weekdays, and is also open two Saturdays a month to help accommodate the needs of their busy clients who work 9 to 5 jobs.
If you leave a message during working hours, Ivy Law will respond before leaving the office – regardless of how late we must stay.
Under the Texas Estates Code a personal representative of the estate is entitled to reimbursement for necessary and reasonable expenses – including reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in the administration of the estate. This means that as a general rule you do not have to pay for the probate attorney.
If you are worried the estate is too small to cover the attorney’s fees then you should still contact a probate attorney to discuss your options. There are several other “probate” options available for small estates that are much cheaper than a full independent or dependent administration of estate. Ivy Law charges a fee as low as $500 for some of the above mentioned small estate options.
At Ivy Law, the retainer required to probate a will with an independent administration of an estate starts as low as $1000.
Ivy Law Firm has a proven track record of handling the complexities of probate matters in Tyler, Texas. Contact us today to find out more.