If a family member or other loved one of yours has died, we offer our deepest condolences. We know you are in an emotional state and may not wish to devote a great deal of time and attention to probate administration matters.
At Fabio & Merrill in Houston, Texas, our goal is to ease your way through each step of the probate process so you and your family can move on. If you have been named an executor of an estate, if your loved one has died without a will, you are involved in a will contest or you are a creditor in need of representation, contact us to discuss your probate responsibilities and options with an experienced probate attorney.
Guiding Executors and Administrators
If your loved one has left a will expressing his or her last wishes, that document will generally appoint an executor and specify which procedure will be used to get the estate through probate. Among the options are the following:
- Dependent administration: This process requires the executor to make periodic reports to the court and seek a judge's approval before taking any significant action like paying taxes or distributing property. All of these procedures can become costly, and most estates will benefit if they can avoid dependent administration.
- Independent administration: The overwhelming majority of estates in Texas go through independent administration. Once the court appoints the executor to administer the estate, almost all other actions can be taken without court oversight or filing.
- Muniment of title: In some cases, where the estate has no debt or its debts are paid voluntarily by the heirs, property can be transferred through this special procedure, which avoids full probate.
Whichever form of administration is necessary for the estate, our experienced probate lawyers can guide you through each step and seek the most cost-effective and timely options.
Counseling Families Where There Is No Will
If your loved one has died intestate (without a will), the court, upon request, will appoint an administrator to fulfill the role of an administrator. The court is also more likely to order a dependent or independent administration, although it may be possible to avoid that often-costly procedure. For estates not governed by a will, property passes to heirs according to a formula established by Texas state law.
At Fabio & Merrill, we are experienced at handling the probate administration of estates both with and without a will. Contact us to discuss how we can help you move the process along.