Houston Probate Lawyers and Litigation
Probate encompasses the process of distributing the property (i.e assets) of a person after their death. During probate, a will is filed along with other probate documents and the court appoints a representative called an executor. To aid the executor, a probate lawyer may seek to obtain the necessary permissions to allow the executor access to bank accounts and other financial accounts.
Once an executor is appointed, he or she can begin the distribution of assets. When a person dies intestate (i.e without a will), the court appoints an administrator. The administrator manages the estate and determines what legal heirs inherit.
If a family member has passed away and you would like to know what to do next, contact a knowledgeable and experienced Texas probate lawyer. The Weaver Law Firm is here to help you and your family obtain what is rightfully yours with efficiency. We understand that this may be a difficult time due to the loss of a loved one, which is why we work to help make the process easier.
At The Weaver Law Firm, we can help in the areas of probate, estate and trust law. We can also help make sure that you understand the steps in the probate process. Probate law can be complicated, especially when the estate has been mismanaged or assets improperly distributed. We help families manage and navigate the varied and complex legal processes associated with the following areas:
Estate Administration — Estate administration is the system of process related to managing the affairs of a deceased person where the administrator distributes the assets which often include real estate and funds. The administrator must rely on evidence showing the true heirs. It is best to have the original written will to show who takes the property pursuant to the will. In many cases, real property can be transferred without administrating the estate through the courts. Title companies often require an affidavit of heirship in order to engage in a closing and insure title.
Estate Planning / Preparing the Will — Estate planning is the process where a person plans how to distribute his or her assets after death. The Last Will and Testament is the vehicle that directs how to distribute real property, business interests and investments. An experienced estate planning lawyer may want to utilize measures to minimize death taxes and administrative fees, address the care and education of minor children and financial matters.
We understand that the details of an estate plan may be complicated. One common concern for large estates is tax reduction and preserving wealth to pass on to heirs and benefit charitable organizations.
Guardianship. In certain situations where an adult cannot care for hiself or herself, he or she may be found to be incapacitated. This may be the result of a brain injury, car accident injury or illness. In these cases, the court may appoint someone to make decisions for that person especially when finances are involved. Along the same lines, when a minor child does not have living parents, a guardianship may be necessary.
Trust Litigation. After there is a dispute over the terms of a trust or who are the beneficiaries, the disputes may have to be resolved in the court system. If a trustee breaches his or her fiduciary duty, that issue may be resolved through the courts as well.
Trust Administration. Trusts are a way to help ensure that your property and personal finances are properly attended to after your death and that the assets pass where you want them to go. Many trusts are also motivated by tax considerations. Trusts can be created during a person’s lifetime (such as a living trust) or established after death based upon the decedent’s will (a testamentary trust).
Will Contests. Any person that claims an interest in an estate after the death of an individual may file a will contest. Reasons for a will contest may be the result of fraud, forgery, undue influence or failure to properly execute a will. Perhaps there is a challenge to the validity of the will or the assertion that there is a new will that revokes the prior will.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty. If the person managing the estate has breached a fiduciary duty, the beneficiaries of the estate may have the right to bring a breach of fiduciary duty claim. The executor and administrator of the estate have certain duties that they must follow. These special relationships exist so that the beneficiary of an estate or trust can be protected.
Estate & Probate Litigation. Estate and probate litigation is also known as a will contest. It is one or the more common types of disputes related to probate. While we prefer to resolve matters outside of trial, sometimes resolving a dispute through litigation is the only way for resolution. On occasion, a person signs a will when they lack mental capacity or were unduly influenced. In these situations, family members may want to investigate if the will is valid.
Our Experience Can Work for You
Houston based, The Weaver Law Firm can provide legal representation in probate and estate matters throughout the State of Texas. The law firm aims to resolve probate, trust, estate and guardianship disputes economically and efficiently. We understand that this area of the law involves emotional and sensitive issues. For this reason, we make all attempts to resolve these types of matters outside of litigation. When litigation cannot be avoided, we are ready to protect your interests and bring a case to trial.