Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

When is it Proper to Use a Small Estate Affidavit?

A small estate affidavit is a legal document that can be used to transfer property to heirs without a formal probate. The use of a small estate affidavit is permitted in only limited circumstances. In Texas, heirs can take advantage of a Small Estate Affidavit if: The deceased person died without a Will; At leastRead More

Can Proceeds of Insurance Policy be Seized to Pay Debts of an Estate?

After you die, your estate is responsible for your debts. Creditors can make claims against your probate estate for what you owe. Assets such as life insurance proceeds, IRAs and other qualified plans are non-probate assets. They pass to the person you designated as the beneficiary outside of a probate proceeding. Because they pass outsideRead More

Is it Possible to Avoid Probate in Texas without a Revocable Trust?

I have written before that Texas has one of the most simplified probate processes in the country. If a testator instructs in his will that there should be no action in the probate court in the settlement of the his estate other than the probating and recording the will and the return of an inventory,Read More

Is There a Way to Find a Deceased Person Missing Life Insurance Policy?

The sudden death of a spouse is devastating, and the devastation can be magnified when financial pressures abound. In families which rely on the deceased spouse’s income for meeting financial obligations, having one income suddenly disappear presents a hardship. That’s why insurance is so important. It will replace your income, cover living expenses, and payRead More

Do I Have To Accept An Inheritance?

I have written about a deadbeat dad who claimed part of his deceased son’s estate, even though he had not been part of his son’s life for more than thirty years. The potential of inheriting money often brings distant and estranged relatives out of the woodwork, clamoring for as much of an estate’s assets asRead More

What is an Affidavit of Heirship?

When someone dies owning real estate, that property cannot be sold or transferred until the dededent’s name is removed from the title. Probate records become a link in the chain of title, demonstrating that the decedent’s property has passed to someone else. But in cases where the decedent’s only asset is real estate, and thereRead More