Letters Testamentary Attorneys in Houston Helping You Rightfully Execute an Estate
Are you prepared to execute an estate when the time comes? A solid and thorough estate plan is the first step in ensuring a seamless process, though there’s one immediate step you must take to make it legal.
When a loved one passes away, the executor is responsible for gathering the person’s property and distributing any assets and belongings to the beneficiaries of the estate through the probate process.
Before this can happen, however, the executor must file a Letter Testamentary. A Letter Testamentary allows the executor to petition the court to provide they have been named executor of the will and, as such, gain legal authority to proceed with administering the estate as designated in the will.
Part of this is related to the process of executing a will, as all wills must go through the probate process first.
An 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.
Why Do I Need a Letter Testamentary?
As an executor of an estate, you will need a Letter Testamentary. A Letter Testamentary is a legal document that the probate court uses to give an executor official authority to act as a fiduciary on behalf of a decedent’s estate.
Alternatively, in Texas, if a deceased loved one does not have a will, you cannot use a Letter Testamentary to execute the estate. If you have an interest in managing and executing your loved one’s estate when they died without a will, 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 approve 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 testamentary, letters of administration, determinations of heirship, and guardianship of the person or estate, you must have legal representation.
A Letter Testamentary, in addition to the other legal letters above, serves as official notice to banks, creditors, family members, and more that you’re the person in charge of managing the estate.
Do I Need a Will and a Letter Testamentary?
A will, also known as a “last will and testament,” is a legal document that outlines your final wishes, special arrangements, and how you would like your assets to be distributed upon your death.
As part of the will and estate planning process, you choose an executor to carry out your wishes and distribute your assets. In order to facilitate the decedent’s will, an executor must first receive legal permission from the court through a Letter Testamentary.
Therefore, neither a will nor a Letter Testamentary takes precedence over the other—they work together to trigger the probate process and official dissemination of a loved one’s assets.
In the state of Texas, if there’s no will, you cannot use a Letter Testamentary to gain access to a deceased loved one’s estate.
When you plan for the future with The Hatchett Law Firm, our wills lawyers help you understand all of the important steps your family members and the executor must take in your absence as part of a seamless transaction.
Can I Avoid Probate with a Letter Testamentary?
All wills must go through the probate process first in order to be validated. A Letter Testamentary is part of the probate process, which is required if you are an executor of the estate in order to distribute the assets of a deceased loved one.
One primary way to avoid probate altogether is by setting up one or more 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.
Other probate shortcuts or scaled-down versions of probate are possible with small estates and when there are fewer assets involved. If you’ve been left out of a will and you’re a legal heir, our attorneys can discuss the possibilities of an Affidavit of Heirship, which allows the property to be transferred without a will or court proceeding.
If you are an executor and you need assistance with your estate duties, or you need legal support and guidance related to the probate process, contact our experienced and compassionate probate attorneys with The Hatchett Law Firm: 281-214-6541.
Why Speak with a Letters Testamentary Lawyer?
Are you struggling with the next steps related to your executor duties? Perhaps a bank has requested a Letter Testamentary to gain access to a deceased loved one’s money, or you’re about to inherit real estate, but the title company won’t hand over the title without a Letter Testamentary.
Situations always vary, and our partners are here to help you effectively deal with the unexpected.
The Hatchett Law Firm is a seasoned group of savvy lawyers that can help you with proactive and comprehensive estate planning. We help you minimize risks, offer legal guidance and counsel, and help you navigate some of life’s greatest challenges when you need clear and non-biased advice.
If you are an executor and you need a clear path forward, we can help you file an application for probate, notify all interested parties, attend your hearing with you and help you perform your duties legally as an executor. We always aim to minimize hassles and burdens related to the court and legal procedures.
Our probate attorneys will determine if a Letter Testamentary is appropriate for you or provide you with another solution based on your circumstances. Get clarity today and book a free consultation with The Hatchett Law Firm: 281-214-6541.