- Estate Planning
- Elder Law
- Special Needs Trusts
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• What Happens When a Loved One Dies With a Will? •
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When a loved one takes the time to develop an estate plan and execute a Will, it simplifies the estate administration process and makes the distribution of assets much more efficient. However, there are still several legal requirements that make it imperative to hire an experienced Probate Attorney. At Hayes & Wilson PLLC, we will work closely with the personal representative to ensure that no step of the Probate process is overlooked and that all property is transferred correctly.
Probate refers to the legal process by which a court validates the Will, ensures that the decedent’s debts were paid, and confirms that the remaining assets are distributed to the proper beneficiaries. Whether the Will is typewritten or completely in the decedent’s handwriting, its validity must be proven in Court. A valid Will is one that meets the execution requirements of the Texas Estates Code and has not been revoked. The Probate process begins by filing an application and the original Will with the court in the county where the decedent lived. After a required posting period, the applicant (usually the person named as Executor in the Will) will attend a short hearing with the Attorney to provide testimony and request that the Court admit the Will to Probate. If the Court finds that the Will was executed with the formalities required by Law, that the Will was not revoked by the Decedent, and that all of the necessary proof required for the Probate of the Will has been made, the Will is admitted to Probate and the applicant is appointed as the Executor.
Once appointed as Executor, the true work of wrapping-up the affairs of the decedent can begin. The Executor’s job is to gather all of the assets of the decedent, pay any debts (including filing a final tax return and paying any taxes owed), and then distribute what is left to the estate beneficiaries. This may involve meeting with bank officers, selling real estate, selling or closing businesses owned by the decedent, deciding what to do with personal property, and any other actions necessary to settle the decedent’s affairs.
As part of their statutory duties, personal representatives must give notice to beneficiaries, publish notice to creditors in the newspaper, and send certain required notices to secured and possibly unsecured creditors. Perhaps the largest responsibility of the personal representative is to prepare an inventory of estate assets to be filed with the Probate Court within ninety (90) days of appointment. While this may sound intimidating, our Attorneys at Hayes & Wilson PLLC can handle many of these procedural items for you.
If you are in need of filing a Will or have been named the Executor of an estate, contact us for assistance. The Attorneys of Hayes & Wilson PLLC can help make the process of Probate a smooth one.