In general, probate can be a complicated and time-consuming process that all beneficiaries to an estate must go through in order to collect the assets designated to them. However, there are certain situations that can further complicate the process, potentially lengthening the process and even leading to disputes between heirs.
Our hardworking attorneys at Hegwood Law Group are aware of the potential issues in the Houston probate process. We can use our experience to help you work through these challenges or put together an estate plan that avoids them entirely.
Administering Assets when a Decedent is in Debt
If your loved one had a lot of debt at the time of their death it does not necessarily have to be an issue for probate, as our Houston attorneys normally go in and file as a dependent administration so that we have an opportunity to legally make some of that debt go away. Creditors are required to do things a certain way at a certain time. If they do not do that, then the debt is forever barred meaning the state does not have to pay it.
In some cases, a person’s estate may still owe taxes even after their death. The IRS is the first to get paid in these instances, minus the administrative costs. The executor of an estate wants to make sure that they have satisfied all debts or had a release of the debt right away, otherwise they will be responsible for it.
An executor could satisfy this debt by contacting a creditor, if necessary. In Texas, a creditor gets notice of the probate and has four months to file their claim correctly. An executor would then classify the type of claim they are and determine which assets can be used to satisfy their debts.
Can Marital or Shareholder Agreements Impact Probate?
Marital agreements, such as a prenuptial agreement, can impact probate up to a point. Generally, so long as the will was created after the prenup and does not violate any terms of the marital agreement, it will not have any impact on probate. However, it can complicate the probate process in Houston if the will alters the marital agreement or does something that was not previously agreed upon.
Shareholder agreements also do not necessarily impact probate. If there is a shareholder agreement that states it could only pass to blood relatives, for example, then the will should have been modified to reflect that kind of restrictive language. If not, then depending on who the beneficiaries are, they will have to make some decisions about that particular asset.
Call a Houston Attorney for Help Navigating the Potential Issues in the Probate Process
While avoiding the potential issues in the Houston probate process is best, our team is prepared to help you navigate through these challenges. Hegwood Law Group can help you put together an effective estate plan that minimizes challenges, speeds up probate, and avoids conflicts. Call now to schedule your initial consultation.