A probate lawyer is an attorney who is licensed by a state to administer the estates of people who have died. In general their involvement will most likely be centered on wills and the probate of those wills. However, their involvement may extend to the administration of a decedent’s finances and to assisting the decision-making process for making final decisions of the estate.
What does a probate lawyer do when the client dies?
When a person passes away, they often leave a trust. This can include real property and cash. For some, the property and cash may need to be liquidated to pay off debts and for other reasons. The attorney representing the estate can determine what is needed to achieve the best possible result for the client and for the estate. To this end, they will work with the person’s surviving family to organize the property and cash in the best possible manner.
What does a probate lawyer do if there are debts owed to third parties?
When there is a decedent, there may be debts owed to individuals or businesses. Some of these debts may not be easy to repay. Other debts may be considered “per curiam” or extraordinary debts. The probate attorney may be asked to assist the estate in working out a plan for paying off these debts. This could involve selling some assets to get the debts paid off quickly and efficiently.
What does a probate lawyer do if the person has already died?
If someone has died, there may be questions about who will collect the deceased’s belongings and pay off his/her debts. This would require the services of a probate lawyer. It should be noted that many estate planning lawyers also specialize in probate law.
What does a probate lawyer do if the heirs to a decedent’s estate cannot agree on how to divide the assets?
Estate administrators have been known to make decisions regarding who gets what without the input of the beneficiaries. This is often when the probate process becomes necessary. Many times, it is not enough for the family members to agree as to how the estate should be distributed. It must be decided in a court proceeding.
What does a probate lawyer do when the executor for one of the deceased’s beneficiaries becomes mentally incompetent?
The court has powers to appoint an administrator to oversee the distribution of assets. This is commonly referred to as appointing a power of attorney. The court will determine if the appointed individual can make sound financial and business decisions. Once again, the court will need to decide if the appointed individual can make decisions that are in the best interest of the beneficiary.
What does a probate lawyer do when an individual dies without leaving a will?
Again, it is very common for the person to leave a Will. If so, the probate process cannot begin until probate has been started. The individual can also hire a lawyer to help him establish the Will. If there is no Will, the individual can file a Living Will. If there is no Living Will, the individual can be assisted by a lawyer who is competent in Texas probate law.
What does a probate lawyer do if the individual who passed away did not leave a will or no Will was established?
Texas intestate law will work with the surviving family members to divide the deceased’s estate among their creditors. If all debts are paid off and the remaining assets are relatively small, the estate will go to the surviving children or grandchildren. If the amount of the debts is extremely large, the probate lawyer can recommend that the property be sold and the money divided. The remaining debts should then be paid off through monthly payments. A probate lawyer can help the beneficiary understand what debts need to be paid and which must be left for the beneficiary’s use.