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Business Succession &
Probate & Estate
Texas probate law is famously complex, and the laws have only become more complicated in recent years. Our knowledgeable attorneys can demystify the probate process and in many cases expedite the administration of estates.
The Law Offices of Kennedy & Jackson provides experienced probate and estate administration counsel to executors and administrators of estates in Greater Houston and Harris County, Texas. If there are any glitches along the way, you have the close assistance of board-certified probate lawyers.
YOUR GUIDE THROUGH THE PROBATE PROCESS
A will dictates how the deceased’s assets are distributed when he or she dies. If the person did not create a will, the estate is divided according to the Texas laws of intestacy.
When the estate application is submitted to the county probate clerk, a probate hearing is set for approximately two weeks later. The probate judge will affirm the executor named in the will or appoint an administrator if one is not named in the will or if there is no will. The judge rules on the validity of the will, verifies the heirs and beneficiaries, and hears any disputes.
The executor/administrator works with a probate attorney to carry out the estate administration duties, which may include:
- Identifying and valuing assets of the estate
- Liquidating assets and paying debts of the deceased
- Pursuing debts owed to the estate
- Distributions to heirs and beneficiaries
- Filing tax returns for the estate
- Accounting and reporting to the state
Executor duties and the level of probate oversight will depend on the type of estate and other factors. Our lawyers can knowledgeably assist with:
Intestacy and heirship — If the person died without leaving a will, the estate is divided among the spouse, children, parents or siblings according to statutory formula.
Dependent administration — Requires the executor to obtain court approval every step of the way, greatly increasing the time and cost of probate.
Independent administration — The appointed executor is authorized to make necessary decisions without court approval, unlike dependent administration, which requires a judge to authorization every sale, payment or distribution.
Muniment of title — Passing real estate or other property to the beneficiary without the need for an executor or a formal probate hearing.
Small estate affidavit — Probate is simplified and expedited if the person died intestate with less than $50,000 worth of property.
Trust administration — Assets held in trust bypass the probate process and pass directly to beneficiaries. A trustee (trust administrator) oversees distributions and management of the trust.
We can address other assets that bypass probate, including right-of-survivorship and payable-on-death accounts.
We offer a complimentary and confidential consultation about any facet of probate law. Our office is located in the Galleria area of Houston, with free on-site parking available next to our office building.
To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified attorneys, call 713-783-7444 or send us an email.
* Thomas Kennedy and David Jackson are both certified as specialists in probate law and estate planning by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, with 30 years of combined experience.