Blogs :: Probate Basics
Probate is needed at an often difficult and emotional time for families. It is a legal process by which a loved one’s estate is administered after their death. Although the word “estate” has grand connotations, it is simply a term used to describe a person’s assets, regardless of the size.
Having a valid Will simplifies the Probate process but there are still legal issues that need to be addressed in a timely manner. The Will must be proven legally valid and the decedent’s (the deceased person’s) wishes as stated in the Will need to be executed. A properly drafted Will makes the process simpler as the Executor (the personal representative selected by the decedent) will have clear instructions as to the distribution of the estate.
For those who die without having drafted a legally valid Will, the Probate Court will follow Texas Intestate Laws to determine who will receive the estate. This is a significant reason why having a proper Will prepared by an attorney is imperative. Attorneys understand the complex legalities of Intestate Laws and can best guide you towards a solution that fits your family and your wishes. Preparing a Will is often not a one-size-fits-all process. Blended families, in particular, have more complicated situations that require discussions as to how they want their estates to be distributed. An attorney can explain how the Texas Intestate Laws affect their situation in the absence of a Will and prepare a Will that is legally sound.
Probate also includes making sure the party that you designate to care for your children after you are gone has the instructions and information they need to follow your wishes for your children. Should both parents die without a Will, the Court will decide with whom your children will reside which may not always be your choice. Your Will specifies who will care for your children so there is no question of what you want for them.
Regardless of how simple or how complicated your family situation is, it is always wise to have a legally drafted Will to simplify the Probate process in the event of your death. Word of mouth is not valid so anything that tell your family verbally will not be considered in the Probate process.
Remember that your loved ones will be grieving and emotional. By preparing a Will ahead of time, they will not have to also work through what may be contentious confrontations with family members or contest what the Court mandates in the absence of a properly drafted Will.