Texas Probate Checklist

Many families in Texas have questions about whether — and how much — they will have to interact with probate court following the death of a family member. At Wright Abshire, Attorneys, we answer questions regarding the probate process and provide guidance to families who must go through probate.

Did My Family Member Leave a Will?

Perhaps the most fundamental estate planning document, a will dictates who receives an individual's personal property following death. This can include everything from houses to automobiles, jewelry and other family heirlooms.

If a family member dies without a will or other validly executed estate planning document, he or she is considered to have died intestate. Texas has special rules to determine which family members inherit the estate of someone who dies intestate. The probate court will oversee the process of identifying heirs and distributing property.

Even when an individual does have a will, the probate court will still supervise the distribution process to ensure that it occurs in accordance with the decedent's wishes.

Did My Family Member Have a Valid Trust in Place?

In addition to wills, many individuals execute trusts that provide financial assistance to named beneficiaries either during the individual's life (called an inter vivos trust) or following death (a testamentary trust).

These trusts will often dispose of assets that are not named in the will. As with wills, probate courts may oversee the administration of trusts to ensure that they are being handled properly.

Are There Assets or Liabilities That Are Not Covered by a Will or Trust?

If a deceased family member did not regularly update estate planning documents and acquired additional property near the end of his or her life, the new assets may not be covered by a preexisting will or trust. These would need to be distributed through probate.

Similarly, many individuals die with financial obligations such as personal debts that need to be repaid from estate assets. The probate court will supervise these repayments as well.

How Can an Experienced Elder Law and Estate Planning Lawyer Help My Family?

Whether you are planning for the future and need assistance with estate planning documents or navigating the probate process now, Wright Abshire is here to be your family's legal advocate. Contact our firm to arrange a consultation to discuss your probate and estate planning needs. Email us or call 713-660-9595.

We have offices in Bellaire, The Woodlands and Carmine; our attorneys can also make house calls or hospital visits in the Houston area whenever necessary. We represent families throughout Texas and across the country.