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Challenging Probate Court’s Order to Settle Lawsuits

If a probate court appoints a temporary administrator and approves a settlement for outstanding lawsuits against the estate, heirs with an interest in the estate may have limited options for challenging the decision to settle the lawsuit. The Chabot v. Estate of Sullivan, No. 03-17-00865-CV (Tex. App.-3d Dist [Austin] – 2019), case provides an example.…Continue […]

Planning for Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts can provided additional resources for disabled minors and adults.  Special care has to be taken in planning for these trusts.  The recent Estate of Mendard, No. 14-18-00434-CV (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 2019) provides an example.  It involves a special needs trust that ended up owning a house that the disabled beneficiary’s…Continue […]

Voiding a Common Law Marriage After Death

Will contest suits often involve children whose inheritance is being claimed by a third party who asserts to be common law married to the childrens dead parent.  This raises questions as to whether the new spouse is entitled to all or some of the decedent’s assets.  The recent Estate of Durrell, No. 13-17-00431-CV (Tex. App. – Corpus…Continue […]

What if You Cannot Talk or Sign a Will?

What if You Cannot Talk or Sign a Will? Generally, for a will to be valid, one has to communicate their wishes in a will and the will has to be signed.  This begs the question as to how someone who cannot speak or sign a will can execute a valid will.  The court addressed this…Continue […]

Common Estate Planning Goals

Common Estate Planning Goals Estate planning is about you, the person who is alive and in control of property, and those who will eventually control and/or receive your property.  It is about your wishes and what will happen in the future. Having worked with clients to develop estate plans, there are some common basic goals…Continue […]

Filing Inventory in Texas Probate

Filing Inventory in Texas Within 90 days after qualification, the personal representative must file with the Court a sworn inventory, appraisement and list of claims (“Inventory”) of the estate.  The Inventory must include all estate real property located in Texas and all estate personal property regardless of where the property is located. And it must…Continue […]

Independent Administration in Texas

What is an independent administration? An independent administration is a non-court administration.  After a person has applied for letters testamentary and been qualified as independent executor by the court, the executor files an inventory of the estate’s assets and their appraised value, and a list of claims of the estate. Thereafter, the executor administers the estate…Continue […]

Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration in Texas

About Letters Testamentary in Texas After a person passes away and leaves behind property to be administered, one of the first steps is for a personal representative to apply to the probate court for letters testamentary or letters of administration. Why Letters are Needed Letters testamentary or letters of administration give the personal representative the…Continue […]

What is a Family Settlement Agreement?

About Family Settlement Agreements in Texas Family settlement agreements are used to resolve probate litigation without trial. They can help avoid litigation costs and uncertainty associated with trial. Family settlement agreements can be used to resolve a number of probate disputes, such as will contests, will construction suits, claims and trust modifications, etc. They can…Continue […]

Probate and Accessing a Safe Deposit Box in Texas

In our last article, we wrote about how to probate an estate for a missing person and prior to that we wrote about lost wills.  In response to these articles, one of our readers asked several questions about safe deposit boxes in Texas.  This is another topic worthy of consideration.  Texas’ estate laws address safe deposit…Continue […]