Austin Probate Lawyer
Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s estate is settled. If there is a will, the validity of that document must be determined. If there is not a will, the probate process is handled differently. Probate is handled by the court and the policies and procedures sometimes vary from state to state across the U.S.
Call us today at 512-900-9769 to schedule your initial consultation.
Probate with a Will
The custodian of the will (usually a financial institution) has 30 days following the date of death to get the will to the executor of the estate or to the probate court. The court will then determine if the will is legal and valid. If the authenticity of the will is established, the executor will then be granted legal power to carry out the terms of the will.
The executor is responsible for locating and overseeing the deceased person’s assets. The executor must estimate the total value of the estate, which can be done with the help of a probate attorney. An attorney can help you accurately and legally estimate the estate value using the Internal Revenue Code.
Final personal income taxes must be filed by the executor as well, including any estate taxes. Once all taxes have been paid and any debts have been settled, the executor must request permission from the court to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will.
Probate without a Will
If a person dies without a will in place, or if the will is determined to be invalid, the legal term for this is intestate. In a case where someone has died intestate, their estate will be settled by the court in accordance with state laws.
If you are the court-appointed administrator of the estate and the distribution of assets is not going to be simple, a probate attorney can aid in the process, helping you to fairly distribute funds and assets to various relatives. The administrator is required to contact all of the legal heirs of the deceased, including surviving spouses, children, and parents.
Community property laws dictate how the estate will be divided, depending on the state of residence of the deceased, which applies here in Texas.
If a relative has passed away, with or without a will, and you feel you are entitled to some aspect of the estate, an attorney can help you make an attempt to collect the assets you feel you deserve.
Can Probate be Avoided?
Some situations are exempt from the probate process. For example, in the state of Texas, an estate worth less than $50,000 does not have to go through the probate process. Some other examples of financial items that are not included in probate are retirement funds such as 401Ks and IRAs, which have designated beneficiaries that are chosen when these accounts are established. Trusts also bypass the probate process because the documents are legally established and do not have to be proven valid after the settlor puts them into place.
Why you Need Austin Probate Attorney Jason Katims
If you are in any way involved in the settlement of an estate, with or without a will, a probate attorney can help the process go as smoothly as possible. In many cases wills are contested, estates are complex, and the process is lengthy, but an attorney can help it move faster. The law surrounding probate and estate settlement is complicated, which is why you need an experienced attorney like Jason Katims to help you through it.
Call (512) 900-9769 today to schedule a consultation.
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