Law Firm of Badeaux and Associates

The Basics Of Probate

Probate is a general term that refers to the legal process of transferring the ownership of assets from the person who died to that person’s heirs or beneficiaries.

Assets & Liabilities

Probate involves verifying the will, if there is one, and collecting the assets and debts. These assets usually include bank accounts, investment accounts, personal possessions, automobiles and real estate.

Beneficiaries

The last step of probate is to distribute the assets as directed by the will. In the absence of a will, which is a condition called intestacy, state law provides over and determines the beneficiaries of the estate. In Texas, if a person dies without a will, Texas probate code section 38 states that the beneficiary of the estate is usually the surviving spouse100%, if the deceased person has no children outside of that marriage. If a person has children by a prior marriage, like in a second marriage, and dies without a will, the law in Texas states that the beneficiaries are partly the children by the first marriage, and partly to the surviving spouse. The percentages to the children by first marriage and surviving spouse are based on whether the decedent’s assets were community or separate property, and whether it is real estate or personal property.

Costs

Probate costs vary from state to state because probate laws are not uniform. A correctly drafted, legally executed last will and testament is the essential document to have to help the family after the person’s death have an efficient, low stress probate experience. Not having a will means state law applies, which takes more time and legal fees to probate the estate.

Executor

One of the main jobs of the probate court is to give the executor legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. The executor actually carries out all of the steps concerning the estate of a deceased person. Executors are responsible for gathering and distributing the assets to the correct beneficiaries and signing the paperwork necessary to get title in the names of the beneficiaries. Changing title is especially important for houses, and real estate. The court will generally appoint the person named in the will as the executor. In intestate situations, State law determines the priority of executors. Intestate executors are usually the surviving spouse or an adult child.

Clear Lake Probate Attorney

If you have recently lost a loved one and are having to handle probate, call your Clear Lake Probate Lawyer. The Law Firm of Badeaux and Associates is experienced in representing executors and surviving heirs in the probate process. We can help you navigate the legal processes efficiently, therefore saving your heirs and beneficiaries time, money and undue hardship. Contact us today at 281-486-4737 or fill out this form and we will contact you.

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