Houston Probate Attorney Blog

Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration in Texas

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Letters testamentary and letters of administration – citations 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. Upon such application, the clerk of the probate court will issue a […]

What is a Family Settlement Agreement?

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Contents1 About Family Settlement Agreements in Texas2 Family Settlement Agreements are Favored in Texas3 Requirements for a Family Settlement Agreement in Texas4 Tax Implications 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 […]

Probate and Accessing a Safe Deposit Box in Texas

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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 […]

Probating an Estate in Texas for a Missing Person

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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 […]

What Happens if You Lose an Original Will?

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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 […]

Contesting a Will After the Probate Assets are Distributed

Houston Probate Attorney

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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 […]

Executor Not Required to Post Bond Absent Complaint

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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 […]

Texas Probate Attorney Ad Litem Fee is Not Negotiable

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Probate courts in Texas appoint attorneys to represent the unknown heirs.  The attorneys fee is paid out of the probate assets.  In Estate of Erwin, No. 07-16-00130-CV (Tex. App.–Amarillo 2018), the court addressed whether the beneficiaries and the attorney ad litem can negotiate or agree on the amount of the attorneys fee. Contents1 Facts and […]

Texas Courts Strictly Construe Language in Wills

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The courts will generally enforce the terms of a valid will.  The focus is on the language of the will, not external evidence that suggests a different meaning for the language included in the will.  A good example of this can be found in Estate of Neal, No. 02-16-00381-CV (Ct. App.–Ft. Worth 2018), in which the […]

Obtaining Clear Title When Will Not Probated

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How do you get clear title to real estate when the owner died with a will, but the will was never admitted to probate? The court addressed this in Ramirez v. Galvan, No. 03-17-00101-CV (Tex. App.–Austin 2018). Facts and Procedural History Mrs. Ramirez was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She started putting her last affairs in […]