The death of a family member or a close friend is a very difficult time in anyone’s life and the probate journey can be daunting. The Davis Law Firm has the experience and knowledge to help you navigate through the probate maze. Whether the decedent had a will or not, we will assist you to formally open probate, send the proper notices to heirs and beneficiaries, address all creditors and transfer interest in all property correctly.
The Texas Estates Code requires all executors and administrators to have legal representation. At the Davis Law Firm we can efficiently and effectively walk this journey with you. You shouldn’t have to deal with the additional stress of probate the estate while grieving your loss.
If you believe the decedent’s will is a forgery or executed under duress you make consider filing a will contest. There are a variety of reasons a will might be contested. Some of the most common include:
Every will appoints an executor or administrator to manage the estate while it awaits distribution to the beneficiaries. If the executor is not qualified or cannot meet the requirements of an executor, beneficiaries and family members may contest the executor’s appointment.
When a will is contested, it can easily lead to an emotionally charged and lengthy legal battle. At The Davis Law Firm, our lawyers know you’re going through a difficult time, so we work to protect your best interests and handle your case as efficiently as possible. We can ensure your loved one’s wishes are upheld.
Contact us at (713)349-9299 or email our firm to get started.
When Someone Dies Without a Will
When a person passes away without leaving a will, the distribution of their assets must go through probate guided by Texas intestacy laws, in essence Texas Law determines who is rightfully entitled to the estate of the Decedent. The administration of an estate without a valid will requires the filing of two applications.
First required application is the Application to Determine Heirship. This application provides the names and contact information for all heirs of the decadent which normally includes the spouse and children. However, if they did not have a husband, the application could include the mother, father, and siblings. Once this application is filed, the court will appoint an attorney ad litem, who will be charged with conducting a due diligent search of the decedent’s heirs. You will have to provide the name and contact information for two disinterested witnesses who can attest to the family history of the decedent. Those witnesses will have to provide oral testimony in court as to their knowledge of the family history and relationship with the decedent.
The second application you will need to file is the Application for Independent Administration, which is the formal request to open the estate, which will need to be filed. In order to proceed with an “Independent Administration” all heirs will have to agree to as to the Independent Administrator. If one heir does not agree as to the independent administrator, then the estate will be administered as Dependent Administration. We dislike the Dependent Administration, unless it is absolutely necessary. In a Dependent Administration, the court will appoint a dependent administrator, typically an attorney. The Dependent Administrator has the responsibility of collecting all assets and paying all liabilities of the estate. The estate is also responsible for the payment of all fees due to the administrator. This in turn reduces the proportionate distribution of the estate to the heirs.
At the Davis Law Firm, PLLC, our attorneys are verse in the law to assist you in the administration of the decedent’s estate. Contact us today to schedule a time to discuss your probate needs.
We each have the responsibility of setting our wishes regarding the distribution of our estate. It is important to have clear and concise documents that lay out the responsibilities and the distribution of your estate. This is the only way to ensure that your family members are not disputing the distribution of your assets and payment of your liabilities.
Your Last Will and Testament should that properly name your beneficiaries and your executor. The executor should be someone your trust to financial administer your estate. Your Will should be executed in the presence of two witnesses, meaning these witnesses must watch you sign the Will. If your Will is not prepared properly, it may be declared invalid by the court. For this reason you should consult the attorneys at the Davis Law Firm to assist you in the preparation of your Last Will and Testament. We are committed to providing you the optimum service in the preparation of your estate documents and will provide services such as home or hospital visits.
Durable Statutory Power of Attorney
A Durable Statutory Power of Attorney a financial durable power of attorney – this means that it only allows the agent to handle financial matters. It does not permit the agent to make decisions about the principal’s health care. This document provides your agent broad or limited authority to manage your financial affairs. In most cases, the Durable Statutory Power of Attorney become effective upon incapacity unless directed otherwise. It is important to have a Durable Statutory Power of Attorney in the event your are unexpectantly unable to manage your financial affairs. Again, your agent should be someone you trust to manage your finances for your benefit.
Medical Power of Attorney
A Medical Power of Attorney gives your agent the authority to make any and all health care decisions for you in accordance with your wishes, including your religious and moral beliefs, when you are no longer capable of making them yourself. This includes authorizations for surgery, medications, and hospice care, just to name a few.
Directives to Physicians and Family and Surrogates
A Directive to Physicians is a legal document that communicates your wishes about medical treatment at some time in the future, but only if your condition is irreversible or terminal. It speaks for you when you cannot speak for yourself. This document provides instructions to your physicians if you are suffering from an irreversible terminal condition on whether you should continue to receive medical treatment.
The HIPPA Release allows your named agents to access your medical records and remains upon your death.
Designation of Guardian in Advance of Need
A competent adult may designate a guardian in the event of the adult’s later disability and expressly disqualify persons that the adult would not want to be appointed guardian.
Our team is ready to help you with your first step in your legal journey.