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.Continue readingLetters Testamentary and Letters of Administration in Texas

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.Continue readingWhat is a Family Settlement Agreement?

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 readingProbate and Accessing a Safe Deposit Box in Texas

What Happens if You Lose an Original Will?

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 readingWhat Happens if You Lose an Original Will?

Contesting a Will After the Probate Assets are Distributed

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 readingContesting a Will After the Probate Assets are Distributed

Executor Not Required to Post Bond Absent Complaint

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 readingExecutor Not Required to Post Bond Absent Complaint

Texas Probate Attorney Ad Litem Fee is Not Negotiable

Texas Probate Attorney Ad Litem Fee is Not Negotiable Probate courts in Texas appoint attorneys to represent the unknown heirs.  The attorneys fee is paid out of the probate assets.  In Estate of Erwin, No. 07-16-00130-CV (Tex. App.–Amarillo 2018), the court addressed whether the beneficiaries and the attorney ad litem can negotiate or agree on…Continue readingTexas Probate Attorney Ad Litem Fee is Not Negotiable

Texas Courts Strictly Construe Language in Wills

Texas Courts Strictly Construe Language in Wills The courts will generally enforce the terms of a valid will.  The focus is on the language of the will, not external evidence that suggests a different meaning for the language included in the will.  A good example of this can be found in Estate of Neal, No. 02-16-00381-CV…Continue readingTexas Courts Strictly Construe Language in Wills

Obtaining Clear Title When Will Not Probated

Obtaining Clear Title When Will Not Probated How do you get clear title to real estate when the owner died with a will, but the will was never admitted to probate? The court addressed this in Ramirez v. Galvan, No. 03-17-00101-CV (Tex. App.–Austin 2018).Continue readingObtaining Clear Title When Will Not Probated

Damages Suit Against Executor Must be in Probate Court

In In re Perkins, 10-17-00311-CV (Tex. App.—Waco 2017), the appeals court considered whether an estate beneficiary can bring suit in district court for damages against an executor while the probate administration is pending in the county court.Continue readingDamages Suit Against Executor Must be in Probate Court