Probate Lawyer for Intestacy and Heirship Questions
When someone dies without a will, the estate still must be settled and property must be divided under Texas intestacy laws. If no one opposes the settlement and appointment of a specified independent administrator, intestacy can still be a relatively easy process. However, all heirs, as defined by Texas law, must be located, be in complete agreement with, and sign the various documents necessary in order to obtain an independent administration of the estate, which generally will be free of court supervision (similar to the administration of an uncontested estate with a properly executed will).
At our Houston law firm, Robert M. Mendell answers our clients' questions about Texas intestacy law and helps families understand heirship rights and how the laws will be applied in specific cases.
With No Will, Estate Settlement Can Take More Time
When someone fails to make a will, Texas law determines who inherits the estate. If all the heirs agree, the process may only require one lawyer and a relatively short period of time. Conversely, disagreement or the lack of cooperation of one or more heirs will likely result in a lengthy and expensive probate process usually involving a multiple attorney representation.
- The Texas probate code determines who the beneficiaries will be. They must all be located and notified.
- If all beneficiaries cooperate in the probate process and the appointment of a specified person (usually the closest family member) as the independent administrator, one attorney can usually take the process through probate court.
- If there is a difference of opinion, each heir or group of heirs may have different attorneys, entailing the time delays and expense associated with multiple representation. Guardians ad litem may be appointed for minors or disabled adults.
- The process for an intestate probate proceeding is document intensive and can be expensive, especially where there is lack of cooperation or disagreement amongst the heirs of the estate.
Please see our FAQ on Probate and Estate Administration.
Estate planning, done properly and in advance, will almost always result in a substantial reduction of time, expense and family strife when compared to the probate of an estate with no will. But in the absence of a will, it is important to have an experienced lawyer who can work efficiently and professionally to resolve all probate matters. Contact our office by e-mail or by calling 713-888-0700.