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Houston
There are special rules that are involved when a Texas resident dies without a will. One set of rules involves heirship proceedings. This is a legal term that refers to the process of identifying who is entitled to inherit from someone who died without a will. Heirship proceedings are often filed several years after the…Continue...
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Probate disputes often involve wills that intentionally omit or fail to provide for one or more children. The probate courts provide a forum for resolving these disputes. But the omitted children may not want to deal with the probate process. For example, they may just file deeds to transfer the decedent’s real estate to themselves…Continue...
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The person who serves as the personal representative in a Texas probate can be personally liable for certain actions or omissions. This is why many personal representatives opt for a dependent administration. But the personal representative can even be personally liable in a dependent administration. The recent Estate of Brazda, No. 01-18-00324-CV (Tex. App. [Houston…Continue...
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Can a handwritten letter that names an executor and does little else count as a valid will in Texas? The court addresses this in Estate of Silverman, No. 14-18-00256-CV (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2019). Facts & Procedural History The decedent was a forensic psychiatrist. Two years prior to his death, the decedent signed a letter…Continue...
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If a party enters an appearance in a guardianship proceeding, do they still have to be personally served with a new application that is filed in the same case? Texas law requires service when a guardianship application is filed, but is this necessary when the party is already entered an appearance? The court addresses this…Continue...
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One generally has to be an “interested party” to participate in the probate process in Texas. If an interested party in an estate is distributed property in full satisfaction of their interest, are they no longer an interested party? The court addresses this in Estate of Daniels, No. 06-18-00049-CV (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2019). Facts & Procedural…Continue...
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When co-owners of property are at odds over the property, it may be necessary to have a court appoint a receiver to manage and/or sell the property. This remedy isn’t always available, as evidenced by the In re Estate of Martinez, No. 01-18-00217-CV (Tex. Ct. App.–Houston 2019) case. Facts & Procedural History The case involves…Continue...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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