Probate Attorneys in Houston Preventing Costly Probate Headaches
The average American considers a will for the first time at nearly 57 years old. To add to this, only 33 percent of Americans have an estate plan. There are more people that believe estate planning is important than those who take action on it.
As there’s not enough knowledge or a clear route to estate planning for many, we’re here to change that and make a path where there isn’t one so that more people and valuable assets are safe from probate court.
When wills or estate plans are unclear and not legally sound, the probate court has a difficult time authenticating and, therefore, approving a person’s end-of-life plan. Our probate attorneys take an exceptionally diligent and proactive approach to help you identify the best asset protection strategies, and litigate serious probate matters down the road for your simple or complex estate.
In addition, we explore all possible avenues when litigating probate disputes that threaten to impede on your rights.
Because the attorney-client relationship is at the very center of what we do and why we do it, our seasoned probate attorneys with The Hatchett Law Firm, PLLC will step in and help you:
- Better understand the probate process
- Better understand estate plans and how they fit within the probate process
- Litigate difficult probate disputes like a will contest and guardianship disputes
What is Probate?
Probate is an involved legal process for settling a deceased person’s estate. An estate is made up of money, property, and other assets. Your will should also include a plan for who will care for your minor children in the event of your death.
Assets are considered bank accounts, investments, retirement savings, real estate, artwork, jewelry, businesses, household furnishings, vehicles, electronics, and any other property of the deceased. Tools like wills and trusts delineate, for the family members and the court, who inherits what.
What’s important to note is that a will alone only distributes assets upon death and requires the probate process for authentication. Not all wills are written clearly, and therefore, the probate process adds time and cost to the overall estate.
During the probate process, death and grief can spark a range of emotions as it relates to the management and distribution of the estate of a deceased person. Naturally, this can cause legal disputes between family members, executors, heirs, or beneficiaries. Oftentimes the people involved have questions about final wishes, how a will or trust was written, and many other concerns.
This scenario alone encourages proper planning when it comes to asset protection, and our probate attorneys can help. The probate process is always an easier process when there’s a clear will and trust working together as part of an estate plan, leaving little room for confusion or interpretation among internal family members and the probate court.
The less grey area, the better for everyone (legal or not) involved. This is something, as probate litigation attorneys, we can speak to from firsthand experience.
How Do I Avoid Probate?
Passing money, property, or other valuable assets down to our children or family members, for many of us, is the dream. Making life a little easier for the people we love and care about is the end goal.
To keep your estate out of probate and get it into the hands of the people who matter most requires upfront planning and the right protection strategies, including the following considerations:
- Living trust: The most straightforward and proven way to avoid probate is with a living trust. A living trust puts your assets and property in a safe, secure, and private third-party platform. A trustee manages and exchanges money or property through the trust, which removes the need for probate altogether, and that trustee can be you.
- Name beneficiaries on your other accounts: Not all assets have to go through a trust. When you name beneficiaries on your bank account, stocks, retirement accounts, insurance policies, and pension, these are payable to the beneficiary or beneficiaries upon your death without going through probate.
- Hold property jointly: To prevent your real estate from going through the probate process, you and your significant other can legally put both of your names on deeds, titles, and any associated documents. In the event of your passing, your significant other will automatically receive the personal property.
Whether your estate is simple and straightforward or more complex with layers, The Hatchett Law Firm, PLLC has solutions for everyone.
When Should I Consider Probate Litigation?
When the death of a loved one results in a legal dispute, it is important to consider probate litigation. Probate litigation occurs when an individual raises questions or challenges related to a will, trust, or estate of a deceased person. It can also involve disputes between heirs and executors, trustees, guardians of minors or incapacitated persons, conservatorship, and fiduciaries.
In most cases involving probate litigation, individuals are concerned with financial matters such as inheritance rights, taxes owed on the estate’s assets, debts incurred by the deceased prior to their death, and decisions made by the executor regarding how those assets are distributed. Probate litigation helps protect beneficiaries’ interests during these proceedings.
You should consider litigation if a conflict continues to gain steam with no resolution in sight. The sooner you turn to The Hatchett Law Firm, PLLC to handle your case, the sooner your conflict can be resolved. We have years of experience litigating the trickiest probate cases.
Our experience provides us with a unique perspective and shapes our cutting-edge litigation strategies. We will stop at nothing to protect you and your estate in court. Put your trust in us to put an end to your probate dispute and provide you with a means to move forward.
How Can a Probate Lawyer Houston Tx Protect My Future?
A probate attorney will be instrumental in helping you protect your family’s future and security while litigating serious probate disputes when needed. We will represent your estate in court and work toward an effective resolution.
The Hatchett Law Firm, PLLC will get involved in several ways to plan and settle your estate alongside the Executor and beneficiaries, in your absence, in adherence to Houston probate law.
Our duties might include:
- Collecting life insurance policy proceeds
- Paying inheritance taxes
- Identifying all estate assets
- Making the final distribution of funds
- Ordering property appraisals
- Preparing and filing all court documents
- Probate litigation
Count on us for strategic counsel during litigation should probate issues come up. Book a free consultation with one of our experienced probate attorney to discuss your potential case today: 281-214-6541.