The estate planning and probate law process are often some of the most complex issues for families to go through, especially when they aren’t aware of what to expect. That’s why there are many instances in which those thinking about the process have questions.
It’s a normal thing, though, to have plenty of questions because these are situations that often mean protecting the assets of individuals who have passed. In the world of probate law, there are often a number of issues that can arise as a part of the process.
Understanding what to expect can help individuals get through the process in a more confident manner. Before you go through probate, we answer some of the most common questions regarding the process and terms so our clients can have a better understanding.
What Exactly is Probate?
When someone passes, there are a lot of decisions to be made regarding property, assets, and debts and what happens to them. In the state of Texas, the process can range, but most often is dependent on whether or not the individual had a will, what the will said, and exactly what assets and debts were had.
Probate collects and transfers the assets from the decedent, distributes based on the contents of the will or by state law, and settles any debts that the estate owed prior to the death.
What is the Role of the Executor?
The individual who is set to carry out the wishes left in the will is considered the executor. He or she will be responsible for ensuring the assets are protected, as well as paying off any remaining debts and distributing the remaining assets and property to the individuals listed in the will.
Under Texas law, you may designate an independent executor, which means that there is minimal supervision by the court during the process. This could be a way to save a significant amount of money and help make the process much smoother and quicker.
Do I Appoint Anyone as My Executor?
The person you choose to be the executor of your will should be someone you trust so probate is not made more difficult than it needs to me. Most of the time, family is grieving over the process. Perhaps your executor should be someone responsible enough to handle the matters at hand confidently.
In some cases, having an alternate executor can be helpful.
Can a Will Be Challenged for Any Reason?
Probate law isn’t always a simple process. In fact, it can often cause arguing and contention. In some cases, individuals may challenge the will based on a number of factors, claiming that the will should not be valid. Typically, wills are challenged if you believe the person was under undue influence, not of sound mind, or there was a trick in getting the individual to sign the will.
Should I Have a Lawyer for the Probate Process?
Know that this is a difficult time for many of the individuals involved and if a will is in question, there needs to be legal protections for the interests of the decedent. Having a lawyer means getting assistance each step of the way for challenging a will, helping executors carry out the will, and deal with debt matters.
At Auten & Willingham, P.C., our Carrollton probate attorneys are experienced in handling the process from start to finish. This is a time for grieving and trying to navigate the legal process is not something you should try to do on your own, especially when conflicts can arise and there is financial interests at stake.
Instead, trust in our team to guide you from start to finish, putting the best interests of the decedent and his or her family in mind. We are truly dedicated to upholding our clients’ wishes and handle each and every case with the care and integrity they deserve.
To discuss estate planning in a confidential consultation with our team, we encourage you to contact us today at 217-643-8757.