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Frequently Asked Questions & Answers Below

Q
What is probate law?
AProbate refers to the process where a court oversees the administration of a deceased person’s estate. The purpose of the probate process is to ensure that any final bills and expenses are paid, including any taxes owed, and any remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in a will, or if there is no will, in accordance with Texas law governing intestate succession.
Q
Do smaller estates need probate?
AIf the entire estate, not including homestead and exempt property, is $50,000 or less, the decedent’s assets may be transferred by affidavit procedure without having to go through the probate process, provided certain qualifications are met. Preparation of the Small Estate Affidavit poses many pitfalls, as the requirements of Probate Code Section 137 are very complex and modifications to the affidavit are required to fit the particular facts of each case. It is therefore advisable to have an attorney assist in preparing the affidavit.
Q
When is probating a will necessary?
AIf a person dies and the property was not transferred to heirs by means of a trust, joint ownership with a right of survivorship, or a direct payment such as insurance policies and retirement accounts, it is necessary to probate a will in Houston.  It is highly recommended to contact a probate and wills attorney in Houston to help you through this process.
Q
Are there disadvantages to probate?
AThe primary disadvantages of probate are the cost, time delay and lack of privacy associated with probate administration. Many clients desire to avoid probate altogether, and probate may be avoided through careful estate planning. A properly funded revocable living trust allows assets held in the name of the trust to pass to the beneficiaries named in the trust, in accordance with the provisions of the trust, without the requirement of probate administration.
Q
What are reasons why probate would be required?
AIn Houston, whether or not a will requires probating is dependent on several factors including if an administrator was assigned, the nature of the assets and in whose name they are held, and the value of the estate.