The Woodlands Wills And Probate Lawyer
Losing a loved one can be overwhelming and emotionally draining. If you find yourself designated as an executor of their estate, the burden may seem even greater as urgent legal obligations arise, demanding immediate attention to safeguard the estate and mitigate potential risks.
Planning for the future can be equally daunting. Where do you begin? How can you make sure your will covers everything important while remaining legally valid and consistent with your changing circumstances?
At White & Mejias, PLLC in The Woodlands, Texas, we understand what you’re going through and have a team of experienced and knowledgeable estate lawyers ready to help you draft a will and assist you with your executor duties. Using an empathetic and personalized approach, we seek to alleviate your burden and provide reassurance throughout the will creation and probate process.
Why Hire White & Mejias, PLLC as Your Wills and Probate Lawyer?
When selecting a wills and probate lawyer in The Woodlands, Texas, it’s crucial to choose a firm that offers expertise, reliability, and unwavering dedication to your best interests. At White & Mejias, PLLC, we stand out as the ideal choice for several reasons:
- Extensive Experience: Our team of lawyers has a wealth of experience in wills and probate law. We have handled a wide range of complex cases and know how to effectively navigate the intricacies of estate planning, administration, and probate litigation.
- Comprehensive Services: We provide a complete suite of services to meet all your needs related to wills and probate matters. Whether you require assistance creating a will, establishing trusts, administering an estate, or resolving disputes, our firm offers tailored solutions to achieve your objectives.
- Personalized Approach: We recognize that every client and their circumstances are unique. That’s why we take a tailored approach to every case. By doing so, we can craft strategies that align with your wishes and protect your interests.
- Diligent Advocacy: Our lawyers are committed to providing diligent and zealous advocacy on your behalf. We will meticulously review all relevant documents, conduct thorough research, and leverage our expertise to ensure that your rights are protected and your wishes are upheld.
- Compassionate Support: We understand that dealing with matters of wills and probate can be emotionally challenging. Our team is dedicated to providing compassionate support throughout the entire process. We are here to listen, address your concerns, and guide you with empathy and understanding.
Choosing the right wills and probate lawyer is crucial to ensuring the protection of your estate and the fulfillment of your wishes. With White & Mejias, PLLC, you can have confidence in our experience, personalized service, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
What You Need to Know About Wills
Wills are legal documents that outline an individual’s wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and the handling of their affairs after their death. A will allows you to specify how your property should be divided among your chosen beneficiaries, appoint an executor to manage your estate, and name guardians for any minor children you may have.
While it is possible to create a will without legal assistance, consulting a lawyer can be beneficial in several ways:
- Legal Expertise: Lawyers specializing in estate planning and wills have an in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations specific to Texas. Our team can ensure that your will is drafted in compliance with state laws, minimizing the risk of errors or legal challenges.
- Guidance: We can help you customize your will to reflect your specific wishes and circumstances. This includes offering guidance on addressing complex family situations and protecting assets from potential creditors or legal disputes.
- Clarity and Precision: Our Texas estate planning lawyers have experience in drafting precise and unambiguous language in legal documents. This helps to avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations that could lead to conflicts among beneficiaries or legal challenges to the will.
- Updates and Amendments: As life circumstances change, it’s important to keep your will up to date. We can assist you in making amendments or creating new wills to reflect significant life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or changes in your financial situation.
By consulting a lawyer for your will in Texas, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your wishes are legally protected and your loved ones will be taken care of after your passing.
Probate- an Overview
Through probate, a deceased person’s will is filed with the court, facilitating the distribution of their assets to their beneficiaries. Our experienced attorneys can offer invaluable assistance through this process in the following ways:
- Filing and Court Representation: We can help the named executor file the will for probate in the appropriate county court. Our services also include ensuring that all necessary documents are prepared accurately and submitted within the required timeframe, as well as representing the executor in court. This person is known as the court appointed executor and/or administrator depending on whether a will existed or not.
- Help With the Court: Our lawyers can help navigate the court system, ensuring that all matters associated with the will and probate are addressed appropriately. They will work to comply with court directives, deadlines, and any necessary notifications to creditors, thereby minimizing the risk of legal complications. In most scenarios, it takes about 60 days to have you appointed as the executor if a will exists. If no will, it can take longer and it varies depending on the country and court we are assigned to.
- Compliance with Texas Probate Laws: In Texas, specific regulations govern the probate process. Our knowledgeable lawyers have extensive experience in Texas probate law, enabling them to provide guidance and ensure compliance with these regulations. They can help interpret and apply relevant laws to the unique circumstances of the estate, minimizing delays and potential legal issues.
- Streamlined Process: The timeline for completing probate can vary depending on various factors, including court schedules and the complexity of the estate. We can streamline the process by assisting with document preparation, court filings, and communication with court officials. By managing these tasks effectively, we can help expedite the probate process, reducing unnecessary delays. Additionally, you are not stuck worrying about the process and what to do regarding your loved one’s estate.
- Professional Network and Resources: We have access to a network of professionals, such as appraisers, accountants, and tax experts, who can provide additional support as needed. This network can help address any financial or tax-related aspects of the estate, ensuring compliance and optimal outcomes. We are always happy to provide names and numbers of these individuals through the probate process.
Navigating the probate process can be overwhelming, but with the guidance of a skilled lawyer, you can ensure that your loved one’s wishes are respected, potential disputes are resolved, and the estate is administered smoothly and efficiently.
How Much Does a Wills and Probate Lawyer Cost?
While every law firm is different in terms of pricing, White & Mejias, PLLC offers a wide range of services at transparent and affordable flat rates. We guarantee a swift turnaround for all estate planning packages: if you don’t receive the initial draft of your estate planning documents within three days, we will discount the total fee paid.
While many online companies provide will services, we emphasize the importance of a highly customized and tailored will that suits your unique circumstances. This ensures maximum benefit for your loved ones, and our support extends beyond the completion of the will. It also ensures that your will complies with state law so that you do not have any issues with the probate court when it’s time to probate the will.
Most of our probate services can be performed at a flat fee. To learn more, contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation.
Does Everything Go Through the Probate Court in Texas?
No. Whether or not an estate must go through probate depends on various factors, including the nature and value of the assets involved, the presence or absence of a valid will, and certain legal mechanisms that allow for the transfer of assets outside of probate.
Assets that typically do not go through probate in Texas include:
- Assets With Designated Beneficiaries: Some assets, such as retirement accounts (e.g., IRAs, 401(k)s), life insurance policies, and payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts, often have named beneficiaries. Upon the owner’s death, these assets pass directly to the designated beneficiaries outside of probate. We are happy to provide assistance with these as well.
- Jointly Owned Property: Property held jointly with rights of survivorship, such as joint bank accounts or real estate owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, generally passes directly to the surviving co-owner(s) upon the owner’s death, bypassing the probate process.
- Trust Assets: If assets are placed in a properly established and funded living trust, they are held and managed by the trustee. Upon the owner’s death, the assets are distributed according to the terms of the trust, without the need for probate.
To determine whether an estate requires probate or qualifies for alternative procedures, you should consult with an experienced Texas probate attorney who can assess the specific circumstances and provide tailored guidance. Contact us today so that one of our attorneys can best assist you with what you may be needing.
What if Someone Dies Without a Will in Texas?
When someone dies intestate in Texas, it means that they have passed away without a valid will or any other legally binding estate planning document. In such cases, the distribution of the deceased person’s assets and the administration of their estate will be governed by intestate succession laws.
Here’s an overview of how intestate succession works in Texas:
- Spouse’s Share: If the deceased person had a spouse but no children or descendants, the spouse will typically inherit all of the community property (property acquired during the marriage) and a portion of the separate property (property owned while single or received by gift or inheritance during the marriage). The exact share of the separate property depends on whether the deceased person had parents, siblings, or other surviving relatives. For instance, a spouse would receive all personal property but only one-half of all real property if other relatives exist: the other half would pass to parents, siblings, or descendants of siblings according to a statutory formula.
- Spouse and Children: If the deceased person had a spouse and children (from the marriage), the spouse would still inherit all community property. If they had children from another relationship, half of the community property would go to these children while the spouse received the other half. All separate property will be divided among the spouse, children, and/or other relatives based on specific rules outlined in Texas law.
- Children and Descendants: If the deceased person had children but no surviving spouse, the children will generally inherit the entire estate equally. If any of the children predeceased the decedent but had their own children (the decedent’s grandchildren), those grandchildren will inherit their parent’s share.
- Parents, Siblings, and Other Relatives: If the deceased person had no spouse, children, or descendants, the estate may pass to the parents. If the parents are dead, the estate may go to the person’s siblings or other relatives, depending on the specific family relationships.
When there are no known relatives or heirs, and the deceased person’s estate remains unclaimed, the property may eventually escheat (transfer) to the state of Texas. Consulting with a probate attorney is recommended to understand the intricacies of intestate succession and ensure proper distribution of the estate according to Texas law.
Get a Free Consultation From a Wills and Probate Lawyer in The Woodlands, Texas
When it comes to wills and probate matters, the guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can make a significant difference. At White & Mejias, PLLC, our team of skilled attorneys understands the intricacies of Texas estate planning and probate laws. We are committed to ensuring that your wishes are properly documented, your loved ones are protected, and the distribution of your assets is handled smoothly.
Whether you need assistance in creating a comprehensive will, updating an existing one, navigating the probate process, or addressing any other estate planning concerns, we are here to guide you every step of the way. Call us at (713) 818-7116 to schedule a consultation and let us help you secure your legacy.