Houston Probate Attorney Blog
Common Estate Planning Goals
Estate planning is about you, the person who is alive and in control of property, and those who will eventually control and/or receive your property. It is about your wishes and what will happen in the future.
Having worked with clients to develop estate plans, there are some common basic goals that are considered. This includes providing for loved ones, mitigating or avoiding probate, minimizing taxes, providing for the orderly distribution and stewardship of assets, protecting assets, and planning for incapacity. Read more
Filing Inventory in Texas
Within 90 days after qualification, the personal representative must file with the Court a sworn inventory, appraisement and list of claims (“Inventory”) of the estate. The Inventory must include all estate real property located in Texas and all estate personal property regardless of where the property is located. And it must specify which portion of the property, if any, is separate property and which, if any, is community property. Tex. Estates Code 309.051. Read more
What is an independent administration?
An independent administration is a non-court administration. After a person has applied for letters testamentary and been qualified as independent executor by the court, the executor files an inventory of the estate’s assets and their appraised value, and a list of claims of the estate. Thereafter, the executor administers the estate without any court involvement or supervision, much the same way as trusts are administered. Read more
About Letters Testamentary in Texas
After a person passes away and leaves behind property to be administered, one of the first steps is for a personal representative to apply to the probate court for letters testamentary or letters of administration. Read more
About Family Settlement Agreements in Texas
Family settlement agreements are used to resolve probate litigation without trial. They can help avoid litigation costs and uncertainty associated with trial.
Family settlement agreements can be used to resolve a number of probate disputes, such as will contests, will construction suits, claims and trust modifications, etc. Read more
In our last article, we wrote about how to probate an estate for a missing person and prior to that we wrote about lost wills. In response to these articles, one of our readers asked several questions about safe deposit boxes in Texas. This is another topic worthy of consideration. Texas’ estate laws address safe deposit boxes. Read more
The probate process is intended to settle the affairs for those who die. But what happens if someone is thought to have died while a resident of Texas, but there is no direct proof of death? Put another way, how do you settle the estate for a missing person who was previously a resident of Texas? Texas law provides the answer. Read more
We live in a digital world–well, most of our important documents do. Even today there are some documents that have to be kept in paper form. A will is an example. This begs the question, what happens when you lose your original will? Or what happens if you cannot locate the original will for a loved one who passed away? Read more
Contesting a Will After the Probate Assets are Distributed
There are a number of challenges an executor can face in administering an estate. Will contests are an example. These disputes can be particularly troubling if they are filed after the estate has been administered and the probate assets have been distributed. The court recently considered this fact pattern in Estate of Perez-Muzza No. 04-16-00755-CV (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2018). Read more
Texas law allows for an informal probate process. This gives the executor a considerable amount of leeway to administer the probate estate. But as highlighted in the recent In Re Cassar, No. 14-17-00825-CV (Ct. App.–Houston 2018) case, there are instances when the probate court will order the executor to post a bond to ensure that the estate is properly managed. Read more