What do I do when someone dies?
Once you have had the funeral and gathered your loved one’s paperwork, it is time to meet with an attorney. This meeting will involve determining which property of your loved one passes without the need for probate, and which property will need the judge’s approval before it can be distributed. During this meeting, we will discuss life insurance proceeds, retirement benefits, bank accounts, debts, and the appropriate court procedures that will need to happen to get your loved one’s estate properly handled.
What do I do if they didn’t have a will?
If there isn’t a will, we can still take care of any property that needs to go through probate, but we will have to follow different procedures. The way property is distributed must also follow the predetermined rules of law. If your loved one had no debt and the total value of all assets is under $75,000, a Small Estate Affidavit can distribute property according to the rules of the State of Texas immediately to the beneficiaries. This procedure is much more simple and less expensive than a full Administration and Heirship, but has strict requirements.
If the estate doesn’t meet the requirements above, we still have options! The administration and heirship procedure requires the court to hire an attorney ad litem. The ad litem investigates if there are any unknown heirs. We will also help you gather the appropriate information and present it to the court. The judge determines who the heirs are and appoints the administrator. The administrator will then have the power to acquire your loved one’s property, pay any valid debts, and distribute the remainder to the heirs.