We work to guide executors and administrators through the probate process and the administration of a decedent’s estate.

Estate Administration

We will assist in probating Wills and administering the estates of people who have died, which may include filing Federal and/or State Estate Tax Returns.

Executor Representation

We will assist you if a friend or loved one has passed and you have been appointed as the executor / personal representative for the estate.

Beneficiary Representation

We will represent you if you are the beneficiary of a Will or Trust and want to be sure the executor or trustee is fulfilling their fiduciary obligations.

Avoiding Probate

We can also help your family avoid the probate process, if appropriate, through the creation of a proper estate plan.


A Will Is Written To Be Probated

In Texas, a will is not in effect until testimony is taken in open court and a judge signs an order admitting the will to probate. A will cannot be probated until the person who made the will has passed away. Every Texas will is written for the purpose of being presented to a court and admitted to probate.


What Is Probate?

Probate is a court process that involves collecting a decedent’s assets, notifying creditors, paying liabilities, and distributing the remaining assets to heirs. Probate recognizes a will and names the executor or personal representative to manage the estate and transfer assets to the designated beneficiaries. The laws of each state differ, so it is wise to speak with a lawyer to find out whether probate action is required, whether the fiduciary needs to be bonded (a requirement that is frequently waived in the will), and what documents need to be written.

Probate Is Not Necessarily Estate Administration

Texas allows for independent administration, which typically does not entail the rampant costs and delays of probate which residents of other states must deal with.  Contested probate, however, is litigation, and litigation is always a long and costly process.  The easiest way to avoid nightmarish probate in Texas is to leave a will and a family that gets along.

The biggest advantage to administering an estate in Texas is subjecting the decedent’s creditors to the probate claims process.  Millions of dollars in debt owed by the decedent’s estates are wiped away by the Texas probate process each year.

A will can be admitted to probate for title purposes only, without the appointment of a personal representative, and without an estate administration.  Estate administration is necessary when the deceased was involved in ongoing litigation or left debts not secured by an interest in real property (practically any debt other than a mortgage).

What If I Still Want To Avoid Probate?

A simple will is required to “pour over” to the trust any assets that have not been transferred to it during your lifetime. A living trust can virtually never completely avoid probate.

When property passes to a revocable living trust upon death, it must be given to the trust, managed by a trustee who may or may not collect fees, and then given to the beneficiaries. Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be additional expenses such as real estate transfer taxes or fees.

Probate can be avoided by making beneficiary designations on certain accounts and assets, placing all other assets in trust, or by otherwise leaving no probate assets on hand when you pass away.  An attorney can advise you on how to avoid probate if this is the best approach to the settlement of your estate.

Why choose The Law Firm of Ross F. Tew, P.C. in your probate process?

We are here to assist you every step of the way. We have the expertise to keep costs as low as possible while ensuring a seamless procedure. If there is a conflict, we are tough. But if necessary, we are excellent at calming the storm. Our responsibility is to keep you protected so you can inherit what is rightfully yours.

Ensure your wishes are respected and protected. Start planning today.

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