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Plano Probate Attorney

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 Plano probate lawyer focuses 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

Speak with a seasoned Plano probate lawyer at Crain & Wooley. Contact us online or call (972) 945-1610.

Benefits of Hiring a Probate Attorney

It can be difficult to navigate the probate process, especially when one is grieving. Obtaining the services of a qualified probate lawyer can give you all the guidance and support needed to guarantee a seamless and effective probate procedure.

Here are some benefits of hiring a probate attorney:

  • Expertise: A probate lawyer possesses sufficient knowledge and expertise to manage each phase of the probate procedure, that includes document submission, settlement of disputes, and asset distribution.

  • Legal Protection: By ensuring that the probate procedure is conducted properly and in compliance with the law, an attorney can assist in defending your rights and interests.

  • Efficiency: You can save time and prevent expensive errors that could cause the transfer of assets to be delayed by hiring an attorney to handle the probate process.

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your probate matter is being handled by a knowledgeable professional can give you reassurance during a difficult time.

Don't hesitate to schedule a consultation if you are going through probate. With empathy and knowledge, our probate lawyers in Plano at Crain & Wooley are here to support you. Get in touch as soon as possible.

Probate FAQ

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.

  1. Filing with the court
  2. Posting notice
  3. Validating the will
  4. Inventory of assets
  5. Identifying beneficiaries
  6. Notifying creditors
  7. Resolution of disputes
  8. 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
  • Pensions
  • 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?

Avoiding probate for your estate in Texas can save your heirs time, money, and the hassle of going through the court process.

Here are some effective strategies:

  • Revocable Living Trust: You can manage and retain control over your assets during your lifetime by putting them in a revocable living trust. The assets pass immediately to your beneficiaries upon your death, bypassing the probate process.
  • Beneficiary Designations: If you name beneficiaries, assets such as retirement plans, life insurance policies, and payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts might avoid the probate process.
  • Joint Ownership: When you own property jointly with rights of survivorship, ownership transfers to the remaining owner automatically and avoids probate upon your passing.
  • Transfer on Death Deeds: If you own real estate, you can complete a Transfer on Death Deed to choose a beneficiary who will inherit the property without going through the probate process upon your passing.
  • Gifting: You can donate assets to lower the amount of your estate and possibly prevent having those assets go through probate.
  • Small Estate Affidavit: Your heirs may be allowed to bypass formal probate if your estate meets certain requirements under Texas law and is sufficiently small.

Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you choose the best strategies to meet your needs and ensure your estate plan is properly executed.

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 by calling (972) 945-1610 to learn how our Plano probate lawyer can assist you in executing your responsibilities as well as how to ensure your loved ones avoid probate when you pass away.

Satisfied Clients Tell Their Stories

  • "Thank you and God Bless you"

    Thank you for being my Living Trust and other Estate documents attorney. Due to our move and storage of business and personal documents, we had trouble locating & we took a lot longer to respond to your drafts, etc. You were very patient with me and my needing lots of explaining of legal terms and meanings. At my age, I was concerned about getting things done but wanting it all done right. You were very prompt in responding to my questions and I think by time of signing I felt confident we had things just the way we wanted to protect my heirs. Thank you and God Bless you.

    - Donna V.
  • "Very much appreciated"
    I am very much appreciated your service If anyone like me needed your service I will introduce about you. Everything you did with in a week. Very much satisfied all your service.
    - Sarah P.
  • "Smooth and easy"
    Learning about trusts at the meal was easy and educational. The set down at the office was where the finer points of trusts was explained. That is where and when we decided to make it safe and easy for our heirs. Our final meeting where we signed everything and an explanation of each item was given went smooth and easy. All in all I would say the investment in the trust was worth it.
    Thank you to Crain & Wooley office and staff
    - Anonymous
  • "Professional and knowledgeable"

    My husband and I recently had our living trust completed through the help of Crain and Wooley. Justin and his staffs are professional and knowledgeable. A special thanks to client education specialist Stephen. He is such a nice gentleman and always answers our questions clearly and right to the point, and always ready to help by answering your concerns promptly. We will certainly refer the law firm to our families and friends!

    - Susan X.
  • "Excellent, Highly recommend"

    We went to seminar to just find out what we needed to do for a will, They gave us all the info we needed right then there. Offered a really good price if we signed up to get one that day. A few weeks later after our appointment we have a Living trust. They were helpful with all our questions and were very thorough with these explaining the whole process. They stuck with the price that we paid + let us call anytime if we had any questions. Excellent, Highly recommend this company.

    - Linda B.
  • "So good to finally have a plan"

    After worrying about our lack of estate planning for years, it feels so good to finally have a plan in place. Thank you for making the process relativity painless and offering the educational support we needed.

    - Leslie W.
  • "5 Stars"
    Me and my appreciate Mr. Crosby we think that he was very professional in doing his job and we give him 5 stars when it come to him doing his Job.
    - James A.
  • "Overall experience was seamless"

    We recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop hosted by Crain & Wooley regarding wills and estate planning. Based on the information provided we decided to proceed with our estate planning with Justin and his team.  The overall experience was seamless and the process was clearly communicated. We had our homework and once that was completed, several iterations later we had our final walk-through and signed estate plan. We would recommend Justin to our family and friends.

    - Earl B.

Designed for Your Comfort & Convenience

Estate Planning With Us Means:
  • Flat-Rate Pricing*

    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 Guarantee
    With 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 Service
    Laws 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.