Probate and Estate Administration
Probate and Estate Administration Lawyer in Dallas, TX
Attorney Chris Parvin is a board-certified probate expert who provides experienced representation for personal representatives, beneficiaries, heirs, and other interested parties in Texas probate and estate administration.
In Texas, there are clear, step-by-step procedures for administering a person’s final affairs, whether he or she died with or without a will. The process of administering a person’s will is known as “probate,” while implementing the terms of revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, and other alternative estate-planning tools is referred to more broadly as “estate administration.”
However, while Texas’s probate and estate administration procedures are less complicated than those in many other states, it is still common for personal representatives, beneficiaries, heirs, and other interested parties to run into issues during the process. From choosing the correct form of probate to dealing with will contests and other disputes in probate litigation, there are a number of reasons why those preparing for probate or estate administration may need the help of an experienced licensed attorney. A Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law as certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, attorney Chris Parvin brings well over a decade of experience to representing clients in all aspects of probate and estate administration.
If you have been named personal representative of someone’s estate, or if you have recently lost a loved one and want to make sure that his or her final wishes are carried through, Chris can help. He is a compassionate advocate who takes a diligent and thorough approach to protecting his clients’ interests both in and out of court. To discuss your personal situation in a free and confidential consultation, book an appointment at your convenience today.
About Our Probate and Estate Administration Services
Our Approach to Probate
While probate is a legal process, it is also deeply personal and emotional, and it touches people in a way that is unique in the legal field. It can also be confusing for those who are not familiar with the options and procedures that are involved, and mistakes can lead to delays (and other consequences) at a time when most people simply want to do what is necessary as quickly as possible. Chris understands this, and this is why he takes a personal approach to probate representation.
Understanding the Probate Process in Texas
While everyone’s situation is unique, there are certain uniform steps that everyone can expect to encounter during probate. These include:
- Initial fact gathering, including interpretation of the decedent’s will
- Filing the application to initiate probate
- Court hearing on application for executorship
- Inventory and appraisal of estate assets
- Payment of valid creditors’ claims
- Transfer of remaining estate assets to beneficiaries and heirs
- Making all necessary tax filings
Learn more about what to expect during the probate process.
Experienced Representation for Probate Litigation
Ideally, the probate process goes smoothly – creditors get paid without issue, and the decedent’s beneficiaries and heirs receive the assets to which they are legally entitled. However, there are a number of issues that can lead to disputes during probate, and oftentimes these disputes will end up in probate litigation.
Letters of Testamentary
If you have been told that you need a “Letter of Testamentary,” in order to obtain the letter you will need to go to court. You will need to present evidence to the judge, and you will need to make sure you follow all of the necessary procedures to secure the letter without delay.
Seeking and Challenging Guardianship in Texas
Seeking guardianship involves numerous challenges, and it is not a process to be taken lightly by any of the parties involved. Guardians’ abuses of authority can lead to extremely difficult situations, as well. Anyone facing a dispute or court proceeding involving guardianship will be well-served to seek advice from an experienced attorney.
FAQs: Probate and Estate Administration in Texas
What are the steps involved in non-probate estate administration?
While administering an estate outside of probate differs from probate administration in several important ways, there are a number of similarities as well. In a typical scenario, the primary steps involved in non-probate estate administration include:
- Interpreting the decedent’s estate planning documents
- Providing notice and payment to creditors
- Completing appropriate tax forms and court filings
- Transferring assets governed by deed, title, or beneficiary designation
- Implementing the terms of revocable and irrevocable trusts
What if my loved one left a will and a trust?
This is actually a very common scenario. Whenever an estate plan includes a trust, it will also typically include a will that covers guardianship of minor children, appointment of the decedent’s personal representative, and distribution of any non-trust assets. Administering an estate under these circumstances will involve both probate and non-probate procedures.
What is the role of a personal representative?
A personal representative is the individual (or, in some cases, company) tasked with overseeing the probate and estate administration processes. The personal representative has certain “fiduciary” duties, and must perform his, her, or its responsibilities with due consideration for the interests of the decedent’s estate, as well as the estate’s beneficiaries.
What are some of the types of issues that can lead to probate litigation?
There are several different issues that can potentially lead to probate litigation. Some of the more-common examples include:
- Allegations of undue influence (potentially rendering a will unenforceable)
- Allegations of theft of estate assets
- Disagreements over interpretation of the terms of a will
- Disputes among beneficiaries and heirs
- Disputes regarding creditors’ claims
- Fiduciary claims against the personal representative or executor
It is important to note that, while litigation is a possibility, it is also entirely possible that the parties will be able to resolve their differences out of court. When representing parties with regard to probate-related disputes, we focus on protecting our clients’ interests as quickly, cost-effectively, and amicably as possible.
Why am I being asked to provide a Letter of Testamentary?
In Texas, Letters of Testamentary are required in order for personal representatives and executors to gain access to decedents’ bank accounts and other assets. The requirement for a Letter of Testamentary is designed to help ensure that estate assets are disbursed and distributed in accordance with the decedent’s estate plan and Texas law.
When do beneficiaries and heirs receive assets out of a decedent’s estate?
Before any assets can be distributed to beneficiaries and heirs, all valid creditors’ claims must be satisfied. Once the decedent’s debts have been analyzed, appropriate notices have been sent, and any creditors have had the opportunity to secure payment, then the remaining assets in the estate can be distributed according to the decedent’s estate plan. If the decedent’s estate plan overlooks certain assets or does not clearly provide for specific bequests of all estate property, beneficiaries and heirs may need to seek court involvement in order to close their loved one’s estate.
If I don’t live in Texas, will I need to come to Texas to probate my loved one’s estate?
If you are facing probate in Texas due to the death of a loved one, we can assist you remotely and handle the majority of the process on your behalf. We have the technological capabilities to efficiently represent clients all over the country, and we are happy to schedule appointments at times that are convenient for you. However, depending upon your interests in the proceedings, there may be circumstances in which you will need to appear personally in the probate court.
Chris Parvin | A Board-Certified Expert in Estate Planning and Probate Law
When seeking to protect your personal interests and enforce the terms of your loved one’s estate plan, it pays to have an experienced attorney on your side. In addition to being a Board-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law, Chris Parvin brings a wealth of practical experience to representing all parties involved in probate and estate administration. As Managing Partner of the Dallas, TX law firm of Emmert & Parvin, L.L.P., Chris’s credentials also include:
- Being a highly sought-after public speaker on probate and estate planning matters
- Being admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court
- Being named a “Rising Star” in Estate Planning and Probate Law by Super Lawyers, a Thomson-Reuters service
- Holding a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in Taxation
- Serving as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law
If you need a lawyer for probate or estate administration in the Dallas area, your first step is to simply pick up the phone. At Emmert & Parvin, your initial consultation is completely free, and of course everything we discuss is 100 percent confidential. We offer free consultations so that you can make an informed decision about your legal representation without the pressure of paying a retainer fee. We want you to ask us your questions, and we are happy to walk you through what you can expect over the weeks and months to come.
To schedule your free initial consultation, call Emmert & Parvin at (214) 974-8940 or get in touch online today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.