Plano Probate Lawyer
Get Skillful Guidance Through the Probate Process
Probate is a notoriously complex area of the law that has the potential to frustrate, confuse, and overwhelm. If you have been named Executor of a will, you need a seasoned lawyer on your side to help you carry out your duties efficiently and properly. In Plano, the law firm you need is Crain & Wooley. Our experts focus solely on estate planning and probate matters, so you can feel confident in our qualifications and the quality of our representation.
Crain & Wooley is ready to represent your best interests. Call (972) 945-1610 now to connect with an experienced Plano probate attorney.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the a legal process where estate assets and property previously owned by a deceased person is analyzed and transferred to loved ones. The court oversees the payment of outstanding debts by the decedent (deceased person) and the distribution of their assets -- this is also known as probate administration.
Types of Probate in Texas
In Texas, there are several types of probate proceedings depending on the type of estate that you have:
- Formal Probate - Required if the estate is less than $75,000, excluding specific types of exempt property
- Muniment of Title - A process that allows for transferring assets if there is a valid will.
- Small Estate Affidavits - This may be applicable in certain circumstances for people who inherit property -- a simple affidavit may be prepared to collect property
- Small Estate Procedures - If the value of the property does not go over what is needed to pay the surviving spouse, minor children, any "adult incapacitated" children, and certain creditors, this may be applicable
Death and taxes are great equalizers. Each of us, no matter age, race, gender or socio-economic status, encounters death and pays taxes. But who knew dying could be so complicated? There are many misconceptions regarding the steps needed to secure a prosperous future for yourself and your heirs. One widespread misconception is that having a last will and testament avoids the probate process, yet the court system is full of will-based probate cases. How is this possible?
Let’s explore a few common questions surrounding the creation and implementation of a last will and testament.
What is a will?
A will is typically a type-written document that has to be witnessed by at least two disinterested individuals and signed in front of a Notary Public. It contains information explaining what you want to happen to your things after you are no longer here.
Does a last will and testament allow my heirs to avoid probate proceedings?
No. Probate is required if your estate is worth more than $75,000. Before your heirs can inherit assets left to them, an application for probate must be filed in the probate court in the county in which you passed away. Usually, a probate application must be filed within 4 years of your passing.
What are the steps to probate a will in Texas?
Fulfilling your last wishes set forth in your will requires your executor to complete an 8-step process.
- Filing with the court
- Posting notice
- Validating the will
- Inventory of assets
- Identifying beneficiaries
- Notifying creditors
- Resolution of disputes
- Distribution of assets
This process can be quite lengthy and costly; taking anywhere from 6 months to multiple years depending on the complexity of your estate.
How much does the probate process cost?
Each probate situation differs in total costs incurred, but the types of costs sustained are the same across the board. Costs such as court fees, attorney fees, accounting fees, appraisal fees, and other miscellaneous charges must all be paid prior to the distribution of assets.
Are all assets subject to probate?
Not all assets are probated in Texas and may be passed outside of the will. Assets that are not subject to probate include, but are not limited to the following:
- Insurance policies
- 401(k) plans
- Funds held in trust
- Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship
- Payable on Death bank accounts
Does my estate have to hire an attorney to go through the probate process?
Most of the time, yes. Texas courts usually require an executor to be represented by an attorney in a probate matter because an executor not only represents himself, but also the interest of beneficiaries and creditors.
What options are available to avoid probate proceedings?
One common way to avoid probate proceedings and allow your last wishes to be carried out without delay is to create a revocable living trust.
What is a revocable living trust?
A revocable living trust directs the administration of assets during your life and directs the disposition of your estate at the time of your death, allowing trust beneficiaries to receive assets without court interference.
Need Help With Probate in Plano? Request a Consultation Today
Have you found yourself mired in the probate process as the executor of a will? Our firm focuses solely on estate planning, including helping you navigate the bureaucratic and perplexing world of probate court.
Schedule your free consultation to learn how our Plano probate lawyers can assist you in executing your responsibilities as well as how to ensure your loved ones avoid probate when you pass away.
"Very Professional, Thorough and Good Communicators"Justin and his staff were very professional, thorough and good communicators. They prepared every doc they committed to, and in a timely manner. I like the lump sum fee arrangement. I would definitely recommend them.- Bart Hubbard
"We are so grateful we did this."
We had been wanting to do and understand a trust for a long time. Once we received the meeting invite, the rest was easy. We learned about wills and trusts in an understandable way. Justin and his team are organized, thorough, friendly and helpful. They coordinated and explained each step of the process. We are so grateful we did this. The cost was invaluable. Thank you for everything.- Shelly Torti
"Would Definitely Recommend Crain & Wooley"
We attended a lunch seminar hosted by Shelly Joyner and her team to listen and learn more about our options with Trusts. Based on Shelly's presentation, examples, and knowledge of Trusts, we were sold on Crain & Wooley as the firm to prepare and manage our Trust.
The Crain & Wooley process from start to finish was fast, efficient and very professional. Throughout the progression, both Shelly and Steve Crosby communicated, answered all our questions, and provided various trust documents through the portal for our review /comments.
Would highly recommend the services of Crain & Wooley!!- Paul & Helen Cherry
"Made the Entire Process a Seamless Operation"
Finding a law firm to assist me in creating a "Living Trust" was very confusing. After interviewing three law firms, I chose Crain & Wooley.
They got back to me quickly after the initial consultation and made the entire process a seamless operation.
I highly recommend and will work with Shelly Joyner and Crain & Wiiley again in the future.- Ricky Ellis
"I would return for other legal issues and would highly recommend this firm for legal advice."I am very pleased with the professional services of Crain and Wooley law firm with the trust documents formalized on my behalf. The fees were fair and the result was done in a few weeks. Terms and legal explanations were understood. I would return for other legal issues and would highly recommend this firm for legal advice.- Alex Montanez
"I had a fantastic experience with your law firm and now I can relax!"I had a fantastic experience with your law firm and now I can relax because I have my affairs in order! It was a very easy process, very informative, easy to gather their information and get the awesome result of having all my documents into my trust. Very impressed with the professionalism of Shelly Joiner, Jessica and Steve. I highly recommend this law firm Crain & Wooley for all the estate planning needs. Thank you!- Wanda Echevarria
"Very Thorough In Explaining My Options"Shelly was very thorough in explaining my options in estate planning and reviewing the documents I did have. I appreciate the speed and ease in completing my documents and support in transitioning my home into our living trust.- David Smith
"We Felt Valued, Cared for and Appreciated"It was a pleasure working with Justin Crain, Shelly Joyner, Steve Crosby, and the entire staff at Crain and Wooley. From the moment we walked into their office, we felt valued, cared for and appreciated. Justin took the time to explain to us the benefits of creating a trust and patiently answered all of our questions. My wife and I particularly appreciated their educational emphasis. They provided us with videos and literature that deepened our understanding of the process and purpose of creating a trust. We never felt any pressure during our meetings with them to purchase any legal products or services. They educated us, encouraged us to ask questions, and let us make our own decision. We did decide to create a living trust, and we are very pleased with the results.- William Benninghoff
Finally, you won’t need a lawyer to understand your legal fees. We clearly communicate our pricing structure upfront, so you can feel comfortable with our service from start to finish. No surprises, no hidden fees. *Our flat rate fees apply only to proactive planning services.
Optional Lifetime GuaranteeWith our optional lifetime guarantee, your will and trust will be automatically updated over the years to ensure it stays current with best practices, reflects your current wishes and minimizes future confusion for your family.
Knowledgeable ServiceLaws change all the time. We stay up to date with all the latest information so that you’re covered. No one else in the region is as dedicated or educated in this area of law. We’re the experts so you don’t have to be.