People often think of probate as a costly, lengthy, and contentious legal battle. While this can certainly be true, having a seasoned attorney on your side may help ease the process and protect your legal rights. This applies when initiating probate, determining the validity of a will, and even asking a court to evaluate the actions of an executor of an estate.
A Bay City probate lawyer could provide these services and assist at every stage of the proceedings. At Hegwood Law Group, our dedicated attorneys work by your side to ensure that you understand the probate process and what may happen. We are here to help you submit complete applications to start probate, evaluate the apparent authenticity of wills, and work to determine if the actions of executors of estates are in line with their legal duties.
Starting Probate in a Local Courthouse
The first way our team might be able to help is by assisting with the start of probate. Under Texas Estates Code § 55.001, any interested person may ask the probate court to initiate this process. An interested person may include:
- Named heirs in wills
- Family members who would inherit if there was no will
- Nominated executors of estates
It is important to note that a court will never start the process independently. A Bay City attorney could further explain how to start probate, identify potential legal issues, and submit all needed documentation to the court.
Evaluating the Legal Status of Wills in Bay City
One primary purpose of probate is to have a court determine the authenticity of a will. Under state law, a court can presume a will to be valid if it is in writing, includes the testator’s signature, and has the signatures of two witnesses. However, even with these requirements, a will could still be the product of fraud or undue influence. In these cases, a court may invalidate the document and use the state’s intestacy rules to distribute the decedent’s property.
A probate lawyer in the area can work to evaluate the apparent authenticity of a will and can make arguments to either press for the court’s acceptance or invalidation of a will.
The Duties of Estate Executors
By law, an executor has a duty to only act in the estate’s best interests. This includes maintaining the value of the property, distributing estate assets to pay debtors, and ensuring that named heirs receive the maximum value of their property.
Sadly, executors do not always take this obligation seriously. They may even act in ways that intentionally violate these rules. In these situations, our legal team can work to convince a probate court to remove an executor from their position or even initiate lawsuits that demand that executors provide compensation for any reduction in estate value.
Let a Bay City Probate Attorney Address Your Concerns
Probate is the sole means by which a court determines the property rights of named heirs and family members after a person’s death. Because of this, it is vital to understand the state’s laws and how they interact with a will or the nomination of an executor of an estate. A Bay City probate lawyer is ready to provide this guidance.
Our lawyers understand the difficulties following a loved one’s death. We could provide the support your need to initiate probate, submit a will to the court, and protect your family’s interests. The team at Hegwood Law Group is here to answer your questions, evaluate the relevant legal documents, and help secure your future. Contact us now to schedule your appointment.