Letters of Administration Attorneys in Houston Helping When a Loved One Dies Without a Will
When a loved one dies without a will, it can certainly complicate things for you and your family members in trying to sort out their estate. This can cause strife with other family members and added stress when dealing with the probate court system, which can be a drain on time and financial resources.
As a will typically names an executor to gather the person’s property and distribute any assets and belongings, not having this in place changes the process and the outcome of an estate.
The one step you can take to possibly change the course of a challenging situation is with a Letter of Administration. Our Letters of Administration attorneys can help you file to be an executor of your loved one’s estate.
We help you, step by step, through the pre-and post-approval process while also providing legal guidance and support as you handle and manage the responsibilities inherent to your executor role.
The executor of an estate has a great number of important and valuable duties—and we recognize that. The Hatchett Law Firm plays an instrumental role in diligent estate planning and helping executors through the key responsibilities and steps of managing and executing an estate.
What is a Letter of Administration?
A Letter of Administration, sometimes also commonly referred to as a “Letter of Representation,” is a legal document a legal heir of the decedent can use to become executor of a loved one’s estate if the person died without naming an executor in a will.
If you’ve also heard of a Testamentary Letter, that legal course of action should not be confused with Letters of Administration as it cannot be used in the state of Texas to manage a person’s estate without a will.
If you have an interest in managing and executing your loved one’s estate and you are a legal heir, our probate attorneys with The Hatchett Law Firm can instead help you:
- File a Determination of Heirship to legally prove you’re a rightful heir of the decedent
- Apply for a Letter of Administration, which is used when a decedent does not have a will and serves as a legal document to grant an individual permission to access and manage an estate
In the case of any person applying for letters of administration, determinations of heirship, and guardians of the person or estate, you must have legal representation.
Book a free consultation with our team of experienced and compassionate probate attorneys with The Hatchett Law Firm: 281-214-6541. We can help you troubleshoot probate and work through estate issues.
How Do I File to Be an Executor?
A will is an important tool in end-of-life planning. It protects your family’s future, and with the help of an executor, it also provides a roadmap for how assets are distributed and debts and bills are paid off, among other important decisions.
During the will planning process, you designate an executor. However, in the event there is no will to execute, there is no executor, and therefore, no one has the legal authority to close the deceased’s estate.
The probate court will step in to assign a person this responsibility, or you can choose to work with our Letters of Administration lawyers to file for a Letter of Administration, including completing the related process in order to file. A Letter of Administration asks the court to consider you as the executor.
To file to be an executor, you must:
- Determine priority for your appointment: After a surviving spouse or any children, probate rules will determine if you qualify to be an executor. In Texas, you cannot be a non-resident or convicted of any felony.
- Receive written waivers from other candidates: You must get written permission from other family members first.
- Contact the decedent’s city court: Our attorneys can help you file in accordance with the city’s filing requirements.
- File a petition: You must provide a death certificate, an estimate of the gross value of the estate, and information about the decedent’s heirs.
- Attend the probate hearing: Attend a probate hearing if required, and secure a probate bond.
There are several steps to consider when you file to be an executor, including a Letter of Administration if there is no will in place.
Can I Avoid Probate with a Letter of Administration?
First and foremost, all wills must go through the probate process. If there is no will, probate is necessary as the court must go through the legal motions to distribute the decedent’s assets.
A Letter of Administration can be used, with the help of our Letters of Administration attorneys at The Hatchett Law Firm, during the probate process to put you in the position of executor.
Once approved, this gives you the legal authority to execute the estate.
To avoid probate altogether, a person must use a trust or trusts. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement in which a third-party person, or trustee, holds assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries.
Because trusts are private, the trustee, as designated by the owner of the trust, can preserve, manage and release funds, assets, and property through the trust while a person is living and when they’re gone. No court involvement is required, so you can bypass the arduous probate process.
If you have an interest in being an executor when your loved one has no will and you are a legal heir of the decedent, contact our experienced and compassionate probate attorneys with The Hatchett Law Firm for legal guidance support and possible solutions: 281-214-6541.
Why Schedule a Free Consultation with a Letters of Administration Lawyer?
There are several implications of not having a will. You don’t get to appoint guardians for your children, outline your final wishes, or ensure you’re cared for in the event of a terminal condition or unexpected accident, among many other things.
We like to emphasize our diligent estate planning process, as we help people in different stages of life design strong wills, trusts, and estate plans to avoid all of the sticky legal situations you can run into.
On the other side, when reacting is what you need, we have our skilled team of probate attorneys with knowledge of determination of heirship, affidavit of heirship, and letters of administration at the ready to help you move forward in the best interest of your situation.
We can help you:
- File for probate with the court of the county the decedent died
- Notify interested parties like banks, creditors, and other potential heirs and family members
- Appear alongside you at a probate hearing, if it’s required
The Hatchett Law Firm and our team of seasoned and compassionate attorneys always put families first. Book a free consultation today: 281-214-6541.