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Houston
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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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We live in a digital world–well, most of our important documents do.  Even today there are some documents that have to be kept in paper form.  A will is an example.  This begs the question, what happens when you lose your original will?  Or what happens if you cannot locate the original will for a…Continue...
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Contesting a Will After the Probate Assets are Distributed There are a number of challenges an executor can face in administering an estate. Will contests are an example. These disputes can be particularly troubling if they are filed after the estate has been administered and the probate assets have been distributed. The court recently considered…Continue...
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Texas law allows for an informal probate process. This gives the executor a considerable amount of leeway to administer the probate estate. But as highlighted in the recent In Re Cassar, No. 14-17-00825-CV (Ct. App.–Houston 2018) case, there are instances when the probate court will order the executor to post a bond to ensure that…Continue...
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