It is generally common knowledge that, in America, citizens have the right to represent themselves in court. So if you are an executor for a will, it makes sense to think that you might not need to hire an attorney. However, this is not necessarily true. When probating a will, the estate and the executor…Continue…Continue readingIs An Attorney Needed to Probate a Will?
When estates are left behind, particularly large ones, there is often a dispute. Such is the case with the estate of the late Michael Jackson. Even though he left this earth over a decade ago, the value of aspects of his estate is just now being decided by the courts. Michael Jackson was undoubtedly one…Continue…Continue readingCourt Makes Ruling in Michael Jackson Estate Case
Muniment of title is an alternative to the probate process in Texas. It is cost-efficient. It is fast–relatively speaking. A Will is required. Instead of appointing you as the executor, the probate court enters an order distributing property according to the Will. And walla! But what if the story does not end there? What if…Continue…Continue readingProbate After a Muniment of Title
The “too good to be true” lease. It’s the month-to-month lease agreement for a friend. It’s the lease that charges below-market rent. What happens to the real estate subject to this type of lease when the owner dies? What should you do if you are the personal representative and this property is part of the…Continue…Continue readingProbate & Below Market Rental Property
The beneficiaries and heirs of a probate estate are not stuck with the distributions set out in the decedent’s will or by Texas intestacy laws. The beneficiaries and heirs can agree among themselves to some other distribution scheme. This usually involves negotiating and recording the agreement in a family settlement agreement. A carefully drafted settlement…Continue…Continue readingDrafting Agreements in Probate Cases
Our Texas probate laws provide for independent administrations. The term “independent administration” means a probate that has very little court supervision or involvement. The “independent executor” is left to themselves to know and follow the law. This is why many executors prefer to serve as dependent administrators. They prefer having the court make the difficult…Continue…Continue readingProbate Court Cannot Order Executor to Act
Our legal system is based on the idea that each party to a lawsuit should be notified of the suit. This ensures that they can protect their interests or defend themselves against the suit. With probate cases, this involves personally serving citation. This notice process is mentioned in several sections of the Texas Estates Code.…Continue…Continue readingFailing to Notify Heirs of a Probate Case
Many courts shifted to online zoom hearings when the COVID virus situation started. This includes probate courts in Texas. This makes sense. Many probate hearings require witnesses. The witnesses are usually friends and acquaintances of the deceased. As with the deceased, generally, they are usually older. They may be more susceptible to have a strong…Continue…Continue readingNonresident Executor Subject to Texas Jurisdiction
There are times when you want to have a local judge or court decide a case. This can help if the court is familiar with the local circumstances or the parties. It can also help if there is a similar fact pattern that one knows the judge or court has considered previously or if the…Continue…Continue readingAbout Selecting the Probate Court
We should all take the time to prepare an estate plan. This is good advice. It is the type of advice that is often stated by financial planners and general estate planning attorneys. To an estate planning attorney, this advice is too broad and vague to really emphasize when an estate plan is really needed.…Continue…Continue readingCan Surviving Step-Mom Be Forced To Sell?