Wills, trusts, estate planning, probate and more
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Reliable Probate Representation

Probate, like estate planning, affects people from all walks of life. After the passing of a loved one, the prospect of untangling their estate can seem daunting. You shouldn’t have to do it alone.
At the Dallas law firm of Hales & Sellers, PLLC, we can help. You can rely on us for step-by-step guidance through all stages of the estate administration and probate process. Should any disputes or complications arise along the way, we can address them with skill and confidence.

Understanding How Probate Works

A will is nothing more than a piece of paper with no legal effect until a court orders otherwise. Probate is the act of having a last will and testament recognized in court as valid and binding.
Even a well-laid-out estate plan may require navigating the courts so that an estate can be properly administered by an executor or administrator. And even the best-laid plans may not prevent litigation involving a loved one’s estate.
Whether you are the executor of a taxable estate, picking up the pieces in the absence of a will or seeking to enforce your rights as a beneficiary, we are here to help you navigate this process. For both straightforward and difficult situations, our attorneys can guide you through.

Probate FAQ

Below you will find answers to common questions about probate.

What is involved in the Texas probate process?

Compared to other states, the probate process in Texas is relatively straightforward. It involves:
  • Validating the will
  • Inventorying and valuing assets
  • Satisfying creditors and tax obligations
  • Distributing assets in accordance with the will

Despite the fairly streamlined nature of probate in Texas, problems can arise at any stage of the process, particularly with complex or high-value estates. It’s important to have an attorney who can identify potential hurdles to help you prevent and address them.

What happens when someone dies without a will in Texas?

Texas intestacy laws will dictate what happens to the person’s property if they die without a will. Typically, that involves distributing assets to their closest relatives.

What assets do not go through probate in Texas?

An estate plan can be structured so that some or all assets don’t have to go through probate, sparing the time, expense and headaches involved in that process. Nonprobate assets include:

  • Those already contained in a trust
  • Those titled in such a way that they can pass directly to the next owner (such as the right of survivorship for real estate or payable-on-death accounts)
  • Life insurance proceeds with designated beneficiaries
  • Retirement assets with designated beneficiaries

Our lawyers can help you assess which assets are exempt from probate.

What is the time limit on probating a will in Texas?

Generally speaking, you have four years from the death of a loved one to file a probate case. However, it’s not a good idea to wait that long. It’s advisable to get started as soon as practicable since the process takes time.

What if the beneficiaries don’t get along?

This is a common scenario. It happens even in families that get along well. The best approach is “preventative medicine” – to avoid disputes in the first place by crafting a solid estate plan. If a dispute is already brewing, it’s important to get a probate litigation attorney on your side.

What happens if the testator lacked testamentary capacity?

Lack of testamentary capacity is a common issue in probate litigation. To be a valid will, the testator (person who made the will) must have had the legal capacity – that is, sound mind and understanding – at the time they made it. If a court finds that the testator didn’t have testamentary capacity, it will invalidate the will.

Discuss Your Probate Needs During A Free Consultation

We invite you to reach out through the website or call 469-304-2819 to get started. Our lawyers offer consultations via phone, Zoom and in person. We can also travel to you if that’s convenient.