Knowledgeable Houston Probate Law Firm Settles Decedents’ Estates
Texas attorneys provide advice and representation for executors and administrators
If you have recently lost a loved one, you’ve no doubt heard the word probate used in relation to your loved one’s estate. Probate can refer to the court process of validating a will so an executor can implement the decedent’s wishes, or the oversight the court provides for an estate administrator who settles an intestate estate. Whether a will exists or not, the process of settling an estate can be complex, so the person who assumes those duties needs the advice of a knowledgeable probate lawyer. At The Law Office of Larry P. Smith, our attorneys have extensive experience advising clients who act as executors and administrators, and we often assume those duties ourselves. Executors and administrators need sound guidance, since the law holds them personally liable for losses in the value of estate assets due to errors or misconduct. We can guide you through the complex process quickly and efficiently, so you maximize the value of the estate for your loved one’s heirs.
Probate attorneys guide you through every step of the process
Most executors have never probated a will; many are surprised to learn the decedent’s will named them as the responsible party. When there is no will, the least-reluctant close relative usually acts as personal representative of the estate, after getting court approval. In most cases, the party responsible for settling the estate has no prior experience with tasks that include:
- Filing the will with the Texas probate court
- Getting court approval as estate administrator and posting bond
- Developing the best strategy for fairly and expeditiously settling the estate
- Finding and assembling assets
- Pay creditors and claimants
- Collecting amounts owed the estate
- Closing and opening bank accounts
- Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
- Paying current and delinquent taxes as well as estate taxes
- Valuing, managing, preserving and liquidating the estate
- Locating beneficiaries
- Hiring experts, when appropriate
Estate representatives can easily make mistakes due to inexperience, stress and hasty decisions. We guide clients through every step of the probate process, with reliable, detailed advice, so you can settle your loved one’s estate as efficiently, quickly and easily as possible.
Valuing assets within the estate
Our attorneys assist executors with the arduous process of collecting, valuing, protecting and liquidating the assets of the estate. Our team of experts is available to assist in every aspect of estate probate. When appropriate, the firm calls upon accountants, financial advisors, real estate agents, property managers and other professionals to assist with executor duties. We can access expert opinions about unique assets such as antiques, rare books, automobiles and other collectables for accurate valuation, management and possible sale.
Capable management of probate disputes
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes among beneficiaries or between certain beneficiaries and the executor/administrator. When representing the estate or the estate’s fiduciary, our attorneys demonstrate the utmost professionalism in negotiations and in the courtroom. Whether the issue is a will challenge or accusations against a fiduciary’s management of estate assets, we advocate strongly for our client’s rights.