Houston Estate Probate Lawyer
Issues that are likely to spur the contesting of a Will or an Estate can include:
- “Lost” original Will
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Misappropriation of Trust Funds
- Undue Influence
- Lacking Capacity
- Elder Abuse
- Pretermitted child (born after the Will)
- Born out of wedlock
- Predatory Family or “Friends”
- “Twilight” Marriages
In many cases, the testator of the purported “Will”; lacked full mental capacity; i.e., was senile, was delusional, was of unsound mind at the time the alleged “Will” was executed by the testator.
For instance, the testator may have suffered from the following conditions: Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, senility, depression, mental illness or was over medicated. Perhaps, they suffered from other debilitating conditions and disorders both physical and mental that affected their cognitive function or reasoning ability.
Further, the testator may have been subjected to fraud, coercion (mislead), or undue influence during the purported Wills creation. Sometimes, the “purported” Will was not executed correctly or the implementation of the alleged Will has been corrupted. Sometimes, the testator was given a document that they did not understand or even know what it was.
Alternatively, there could be ambiguities in the document, or the Will is a forgery or the “purported” Will does not conform to legal requirements to be a valid Will as to the number and nature of the witnesses during execution of the document.
If the purported Will is thrown out, the court may disallow only the part of the Will that was challenged or they can throw out the entire Will of the decedent and therefore distributing the property as if the person died without a Will or in some cases use the last previous valid Will, depending on state law and the specific facts and circumstances.
PROBATE PROCESS, COSTS AND TIME
As your Houston probate attorney, I can offer flat fees or hourly fees for a probate administration for most types of estate administrations in all the probate courts in the Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin areas of Texas. Under certain circumstances, I may agree to be paid from the estate in a probate estate administration or on contingency.
PROBATE ADMINISTRATOR PROCEDURE
Typically, the executor or administrator files the probate application with the help of their probate attorney and original will if applicable. Following application there is a posting period for a Will or administration for at least ten days before the executor or administrator can probate the Will and/or have an estate administration if an intestate heirship (an estate administration without a will).
At the probate hearing, the executor or administrator proves the validity of the Will and seeks to be appointed executor or administrator with the aid of their attorney. After the probate hearing, the executor or administrator will receive “letters of testamentary” or “letters of administration” from the probate court. Thereafter, if there is an independent administration granted by the probate court the executor or administrator collects estate assets. The probate court will expect the administrator or executor to do an estate inventory and file a notice to creditors for the estate with the aid of their attorney. There is also a requirement of notice to the heirs from the executor or administrator. For independent administrations this completes most of the functions of the administrator or executor.
As your Texas estate attorney, I will be involved in each step of the probate process. Will probates can be completed within several weeks. Estate administrations that are intestate (no Will) can take a month or more depending on the probate court.