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The Probate Process
Collin County Probate Lawyers Explain the Probate Process
If you are apprehensive about dealing with probate, you are not alone. Most people do not know very much about the process (nor would they have any reason to), other than that they have heard that it can be time-consuming, painful and expensive. While probate can be all of these things, it does not have to be. In fact, Texas law offers some unique options when it comes to probate that can significantly reduce the time, stress and costs involved. When speaking with experienced Collin County probate lawyers, they can devise a plan that's best for you.
At Nordhaus & Nordhaus, PC, we have extensive experience representing personal representatives, heirs, beneficiaries and other interested parties in all aspects of probate administration and litigation in Collin County. We offer free initial consultations, and if you have questions about probate, we encourage you to contact us to speak with one of our probate attorneys about your needs.
Understanding Texas Probate
There are two main types of probate in Texas: independent administration and court-supervised dependent administration. Texas law offers a number of different options as well, particularly when it comes to probating smaller estates.
Independent administration is a streamlined form of probate in which the personal representative (also called an “executor”) is able to administer the decedent’s estate without the need to seek court approval. Independent administration is an option if either (i) the decedent’s will calls for independent administration or (ii) the decedent’s heirs (if there is no will) or beneficiaries (if there is a will) all agree to independent probate. Due to the limited court interactions involved in independent administration, independent administration will often be an attractive option for all parties involved.
Court-Supervised Dependent Administration
If independent administration is not an option under the circumstances, it may be necessary to probate the decedent’s estate through dependent administration. With dependent administration, the personal representative is subject to court supervision with regard to most of the significant aspects of winding up the decedent’s final affairs. For example, in dependent administration, the personal representative must generally seek court approval to:
- Sell real estate
- Sell vehicles and other items of personal property
- Satisfy obligations to creditors (pay off debts)
- Pay expenses incurred during probate
- Pay professional fees to appraisers, accountants, attorneys and other advisors
Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the requirements of dependent administration can potentially add significant amounts of time and expense to the probate process.
Probate for Small Estates
For smaller estates, Texas probate law offers a number of simplified procedures that can avoid even many of the requirements of independent administration. These include the small estate affidavit and muniment of title. Each of these options has its own unique set of requirements and at Nordhaus & Nordhaus, PC, our attorneys can guide you through the process of choosing the type of probate that makes the most sense for your personal circumstances.
Speak with Collin County Probate Lawyers as Soon as Possible
Whether you are preparing to go through probate or you are running into issues during the probate process, our experienced Collin County probate lawyers can help you protect your interests and advise you every step of the way. Our goal is to make the probate process as efficient and amicable as possible. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, call our Collin County law offices at (214) 726-1450 or submit a request online today.
Disclaimer: While our primary office is located in McKinney, Texas, Nordhaus & Nordhaus provides legal representation to residents in the Allen, Frisco, Prosper, and entire Collin County area.