Estate Administration Attorney
After a person has died, people will look for a Will or information about an estate planning law firm that may be in possession of a Will. If a Will is not found, the person is said to have died “intestate.”
Their property will still need to be managed and distributed, bills paid and taxes filed. Someone will need to fulfill the tasks of probate. It will fall to the Texas probate court to identify heirs so that a probate judge can appoint one of them to act as an “administrator” for the estate. Our probate attorneys can provide as much or as little assistance as you need.
The Role of Administrator
The role of the estate administrator is very similar to that of the executor in probating a Will. Administration of the estate will typically be “dependent”: there will be maximum court supervision of the process, a judge will have to approve actions taken along the way, and the administrator will be required to post a bond.
Alternatively, if all the heirs agree, the probate court judge may appoint someone as an “independent administrator” and waive the requirement of a bond and additional supervision. The independent administrator is generally free to handle the tasks of settling the estate with only a few required filings.
The Job of the Administrator When Probating a Texas Estate
Estate administration is very similar to probate in terms of the work that must be accomplished.
- Locate and inventory the decedent’s assets,
- Pay debts and claims against the estate,
- Preserve the estate by paying car payments, mortgage payments, utility bills, etc.,
- Pay federal and estate taxes,
- Identify and locate heirs (those entitled to receive part of the estate under Texas inheritance law)
- Distribute the assets to the heirs
Some assets can be distributed without the need to go through probate. In some cases, the entire estate may be administered outside of probate. We can advise you on whether probate alternatives apply in the case of the estate you are administering.
- Real estate that is titled as joint tenancy with right of survivorship
- Other assets that are held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, like checking and savings accounts
- Assets that are held in trust
- Assets that name a beneficiary like a life insurance policy, Certificate of Deposit, or a 401k
Disputes Are More Likely to Arise When There is No Will
The biggest challenge with an estate where there was no Will is found in the fact that no one really knows the intention of the deceased. Did she promise her niece her wedding ring? Did he want his brother to have the house? His son, the car? Conversations are not enforceable contracts that stand up in court, and that uncertainty can lead to angry and hurt feelings.
While we will do everything in our power to ensure the smooth administration of an estate, sometimes conflicts cannot be avoided. We are experienced trial court litigators and can draw upon the expertise of other trial attorneys and mediators in our firm. Albin Oldner Law, PLLC is prepared to represent you in estate litigation.
Get the Legal Help You Need with Estate Administration
We serve clients in McKinney, Celina, Allen and communities throughout Denton County.