Our Practice Areas
Tomball Estate Planning & Probate Lawyers
Compassionate Counsel for Texas Families
At Theander & Grimes, PLLC, we understand the importance of having a well-developed plan for your Texas estate. From protecting your hard-earned assets to ensuring your loved ones are cared for in the event that the unexpected happens, it's critical to take the appropriate legal steps today to protect your future tomorrow.
Our compassionate attorneys represent Texas families and their loved ones in Tomball and the surrounding areas in various legal matters pertaining to estate planning and probate law, from wills to trusts to durable Powers of Attorney (POAs).
What Is Probate in Texas?
Probate is the legal process through which a deceased individual's assets are distributed, debts are settled, and their final affairs are concluded. It ensures the decedent's final wishes are carried out according to their will.
Understanding the Texas Probate Process
The Texas probate generally involves the following steps:
- Filing the will: If the deceased left a valid will, it must be filed with the appropriate probate court in Texas. If there is no will, the court will follow intestacy laws to determine the distribution of assets.
- Appointing an executor/administrator: The court appoints an executor or administrator to oversee the probate process. This person manages the deceased's estate, pays outstanding debts, and distributes assets to beneficiaries.
- Inventory and appraisal: The executor or administrator compiles an inventory of the deceased's assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property. If necessary, a professional appraiser may be hired to determine the value of certain assets.
- Notifying creditors and settling debts: Known creditors are notified of the deceased's passing, allowing them to make claims against the estate. The executor or administrator is responsible for identifying and settling valid debts using estate funds.
- Distribution of assets: Once debts, taxes, and other expenses are paid, the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or Texas intestacy laws.
- Closing the estate: After all debts are settled and assets distributed, the executor or administrator files a final report with the court. Once approved, the estate is officially closed.
What Is the Purpose of Probate?
Probate serves several essential purposes in Texas, such as:
- Validating wills: Probate ensures that the deceased's will is legally valid, addressing any potential disputes or challenges to its authenticity.
- Clearing titles to assets: Legal ownership of assets is transferred from the deceased to their beneficiaries through the probate process, providing clear title and authority over those assets.
- Settling debts and taxes: Probate allows for the identification and settlement of outstanding debts and taxes owed by the deceased, ensuring that creditors are paid appropriately.
- Protecting the rights of heirs and beneficiaries: Probate provides a transparent legal framework to protect the rights of heirs and beneficiaries, ensuring their rightful inheritance.
- Resolving familial disputes: In cases of disagreements or disputes concerning the distribution of assets, probate provides a forum to address and resolve these issues.
Is Probate Mandatory in Texas?
It’s important to note that probate isn’t always mandatory in Texas. Certain circumstances can allow for simplified or alternative procedures. Various parties and items may be exempt from probate in Texas, such as:
- Assets titled in living trusts
- Small estates with no debts
- Assets with designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts
- Estates valued under $75,000 (excluding the value of a homestead property)
- Estates where the deceased held only community property with a surviving spouse
Remember, securing sound counsel from a qualified Tomball probate lawyer is essential to determining whether probate is necessary for your specific situation. Your lawyer can utilize careful consideration and comprehensive legal skills to help Texans better understand the legal options available to them, in addition to state-specific requirements and eligibility.
Do I Need a Texas Estate Plan?
As a Texas probate and estate planning firm, our knowledgeable team understands the importance of ensuring your loved ones are protected and your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
While having an estate plan isn’t required in Texas, it’s extremely important for anyone who wishes to see their final wishes carried out accordingly, from drafting durable wills to distributing their life’s assets to designating a medical or financial POA.
There are many benefits of having a well-crafted estate plan, including:
- Control: An estate plan can allow you to control how your assets are distributed, ensuring your wishes are carried out.
- Minimizing taxes: Proper estate planning can minimize tax liabilities, potentially maximizing the amount passed on to your beneficiaries.
- Avoiding probate: By utilizing estate planning strategies like trusts, wills, and POAs, Texans can often bypass the probate process. As you can imagine, this can save individuals tremendous time and money while offering families more privacy.
- Protecting minor children: A well-crafted estate plan can allow families to appoint guardians for minor children to ensure their care and well-being.
- Incapacity planning: An estate plan can include documents such as powers of attorney and advance healthcare directives, enabling trusted individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
- Business succession: If you own a business, an estate plan can outline a clear succession plan, ensuring the smooth transition of ownership.
- Charitable giving: Estate planning can allow Texans to incorporate philanthropic goals and establish charitable legacies.
Trusted Estate Planning Attorneys in Tomball, TX
At Theander & Grimes, our compassionate probate and estate lawyers understand the financial and emotional burdens that Tomball families shoulder when it comes to estate planning. That’s why we’re here to make the legal process as smooth and painless as possible for you and your loved ones. From guardianship to Medicaid disputes, you can trust our firm to collaborate closely with you to provide the customized legal solutions you need and deserve to restore your peace of mind in today’s unpredictable world.
Preparing for the future is essential for Texas families. Contact us online to consult with an experienced Tomball estate planning attorney.
“Don't wait, Amanda and team are fantastic.” - Lem M.
“I highly recommend working with Amanda and her law firm.” - George H.
“I highly recommend Amanda Grimes and her colleagues at Theander & Grimes.” - CC