Cypress Probate Lawyer
After losing a beloved family member, dividing their assets is probably the last thing you want to consider. However, it is legally necessary to settle your loved one’s debts and division of assets through a process known as probate. If you have lost a family member in Cypress, Texas, or somewhere else in the United States, you do not have to navigate the complex probate process alone.
At Stepp & Sullivan, our attorneys have many years of combined experience helping our clients through this challenging and legally dense process. Our compassionate attorneys in Cypress understand the stress and complicated emotions you may be experiencing and can use our extensive experience and skills to help you achieve a favorable outcome. When you retain our services, you can trust us to handle your loved one’s estate with the utmost professionalism and care.
Texas’ Probate Process
Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased individual’s estate before a judge who will ensure the deceased’s wishes are executed appropriately. During probate, the court will recognize your loved one’s passing and oversee settling debts and dividing assets. A skilled attorney can guide you through this complex process while protecting your interests and to make the process much less stressful. Probate proceedings typically follow the steps below:
Filing the Will and Probate Application
If your loved one had a will, it must be filed with the court along with a written probate application. Then, the court issues a notice to all interested parties a least ten days before the probate process is set to begin. This period allows any interested parties the opportunity to contest the will if they feel it necessary. If no one contests the will, the court determines whether the will is valid.
During the first probate hearing, the judge will formally recognize the death of your family member and decide if the person assuming the executor position is the right person for the role. The executor is responsible for settling the decedent’s estate, including paying debts and distributing assets. If the judge decides the executor is satisfactory, they are sworn in under oath to uphold their legal duties and responsibilities. After the executor has been formally established, the judge will officially enter the will into probate.
Within 90 days of the hearing, the executor must take a complete inventory and determine the value of all the assets and debts the estate owns. When this process is complete, they then move on to their other responsibilities, including the following:
- Filing the decedent’s federal tax return
- Selling estate assets
- Providing notice of probate to beneficiaries and creditors
- Settling any outstanding debts
If you are named the estate executor, these duties can be daunting to tackle on your own, especially after losing a loved one. At Stepp & Sullivan, our skilled Cypress probate lawyers have a proven track record of helping clients move through this process efficiently using meticulous attention to detail.
If anyone contests the will, these disputes must be resolved before the decedent’s assets are distributed to the appropriate parties. These disagreements can cause significant delays and drag out the already tedious probate process. A highly-qualified Cypress probate attorney can help you resolve disputes quickly and execute your many duties as the estate executor.
After all the estate’s debts and disputes are settled, the decedent’s remaining assets will be distributed to their heirs and beneficiaries. However, it is essential to remember that not all assets are distributed through the probate process. Assets such as joint bank accounts and life insurance policies can pass directly to beneficiaries without being subject to probate. Your Cypress probate lawyer can help you determine which asset must go through probate and help you determine the best course of action to distribute your loved one’s assets.
What Happens if My Loved One Did Not Have a Valid Will?
If your family member passes away without a valid will, the court will make all decisions regarding the execution of the estate. One of the things the court will determine is who qualifies to be an heir of the estate. The court will consider the deceased’s separate and community property and the relationships between the deceased and the other parties involved.
The court will also appoint an administrator that will work in a similar capacity as an executor of an estate with a will. The administrator is responsible for paying debts, valuing the estate’s assets, and distributing them accordingly. If you were named the administrator of an estate in Cypress, a compassionate Cypress probate attorney can help you through every step of the probate process so you can easily carry out your legal duties.
Discuss Your Case with an Award-Winning Cypress Probate Lawyer
At Stepp & Sullivan, our attorneys have years of experience helping their clients through every step of the probate process while protecting their rights. We understand how challenging losing a loved one can be, and we can work with you to take the stress off your plate and support you through this difficult time. To learn more about how we can help you, schedule a consultation today by calling (713) 336-7200 or completing our online contact form.