San Antonio Probate Attorneys
After the passing of a loved one, families are left with a mix of emotions in the days and weeks that follow. During this time, while trying to process the grief and sadness, you may also have to begin the process of navigating the legalities of settling the remaining estate. This can be a frustrating and painful experience that can take months or years to resolve. This time frame depends heavily on whether there was an estate plan or will in place at the time of their passing. The San Antonio probate attorneys at Bryant Law PC provide the skilled and compassionate probate representation you need during this difficult time.
Our legal team makes it their goal to get you through the Texas probate process as swiftly and stress-free as possible while you mourn the loss of your loved one. We understand the challenges you might face during this process and will work hard to protect your rights and inheritance under federal, state, and local law.
What is the Uncontested Probate Process in South Texas?
If there is a valid will in place, an uncontested probate process will typically include admitting it to the court and distributing assets according to the decedent’s wishes. If no will exists, Texas intestacy laws will determine which heirs inherit the remaining estate. To help facilitate this process, an executor gets appointed according to the will or the court, and this individual will complete the probate process to distribute the estate.
Throughout this proceeding, there will be several steps to take to accomplish this goal, including:
Establishing Validity of the Will
If your loved one did have a will in place in the event of their death, the probate court will review it and determine its validity.
Appraisal and Inventory of the Estate
A valuation and inventory of the estate assets will be necessary. This helps establish the actual value of the estate to the probate court, creditors, and will beneficiaries.
Payment of Lawful Debts
Generally, all outstanding taxes and debts of the estate will be paid before distributing assets to the beneficiaries.
Distribution of Assets
After the previous aspects of the probate process have reached completion, the estate assets will be distributed according to the Will.
At Bryant Law PC, we provide the personalized attention your family needs to guide you through the probate process as efficiently as possible. ˘
Why You Might Contest a Will
It is not uncommon for the sudden death of a loved one to cause a contested probate process. It may be that your loved one was subjected to undue influence by another individual, or there is reason to believe fraud is involved, or there was not an estate plan in place. Pursuing litigation with your probate attorneys sometimes is necessary to protect the rights of surviving relatives in such cases.
Commons grounds for contesting a will include:
- The decedent could not sign the will due to incapacitation or other disability.
- There was an undue influence on the decedent to sign.
- The will is fraudulent or procured in a manner considered such.
- The signing of the will was not performed according to Texas law.
- One or more provisions of the will can be interpreted in multiple ways.
- The power of attorney was misused.
- The executor breached their fiduciary duties
When an estate becomes contested, it will not be finalized until the dispute is settled and heard before a probate court judge. This process is already emotionally charged, and contesting it could cause irreparable rifts in your family. If you or a relative decide that litigation is necessary, work with an experienced attorney who can outline what the risks are, the likelihood of success, and what is necessary to prove the will is invalid or has a significant issue within it or its origin.
Contesting Probate with No Will Present
In probate proceedings without a will, a contested heirship proceeding may be necessary to determine who qualifies as a rightful heir under Texas intestate succession laws. These actions could include proving paternity of an heir or invoking a special to adjudicate rights when heirs are truly unknown.
There are many reasons to contest a probate proceeding where no will is present, but you only have a limited amount of time to file your grievance and must have a legal basis for doing so.
Trust Your Probate Issues to Our Experienced Probate Attorneys
The intense emotions that follow a loved one’s passing can cause extensive emotional strain, financial hardship, and misgivings between surviving family members. Balancing grief while managing the legalities of a probated estate is an overwhelming experience you should not have to face alone. If you have concerns about your family member’s final wishes, this can make the process even more painful and distressing.
At Bryant Law PC, our goal is to provide you a sense of relief, and confidence to face these challenges head-on. Please contact us today to set up a consultation with our probate attorneys, discuss your case and learn more about your rights under Texas law.