The Rice Law Firm, PLLC                                    
Call:     832.510.9760
Email:  ricelawthewoodlands@gmail.com

Probate

DISCLAIMER: The following questions were answered by a Woodlands probate lawyer, however, there are provided for informational purposes only; therefore, they should not be construed as legal advice.  Contact an attorney in your area to discuss the facts of your case. There is no attorney-client relationship is created via this website.

What type of probate and estate administration cases does this law firm handle in the Woodlands?

Woodlands Probate Attorney handles Wills Probates, Independent Administrations, Heirship Proceedings, Muniment of Titles, Small Estates for clients located in the Woodlands, Conroe, Spring, Montgomery, Oak Ridge North Houston, Shenandoah, Magnolia, Tomball, Egypt, Willis, Splendora, and throughout Montgomery and North Harris county. Prior to scheduling a consultation with the Woodlands Probate Lawyer, visit the Initial Consultation page.

My husband’s Will left everything to me. Our house and all of our assets are in The Woodlands, but he died in a hospital in Houston. Where and how can I probate my husband’s Will?

An Woodlands Probate lawyer can assist you by filing an application to probate your husband’s Will in county court in Montgomery County.

What does “probate  mean?

“Probate” means the process by which a court determines whether a Will is valid or not. Sometimes the term refers to all of the proceedings dealing with estate administration.

My mother died without a will. She has a house in Conroe, some bank accounts and some investments. What do I do?

A probate lawyer practicing in Montgomery County, may be able to help you by filing an Application for Determination of Heirship combined with an Application for Estate Administration.

What is a determination of Heirship proceeding ?

An Heirship Determination is a process by which a court determines who the heirs are.

I am my mother’s only heir, why does the court need to determine who the heirs are?

The court requires evidence proving the identity of all of the heirs and, therefore, would appoint an attorney ad litem, who would represent the unknown heirs and those heirs that can not be located, at the hearing.

What is an estate administration?

An estate administration is the process of gathering the decedent’s assets, paying his/her debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will or the heirs determined in the Heirship Proceeding.

Is the estate administration expensive?

It depends on the type of estate administration.  An Independent Administration  does not require court supervision, therefore, the executor needs to go to court only once, and file a minimum amount of paperwork after that. The independent administration is speedy and cost effective.  A Dependent Administration, however, is court supervised and requires the administrator to attend several hearings in which the administrator requires court’s approval for every act taken, therefore it is a long and expensive process.

I live in Conroe.  How do I make sure that my estate is handled through an Independent Administration when I die?

An estate planning attorney in the Woodlands or Conroe can draft a will in such a way to provide for the estate administration to be handled without court supervision.

If my loved one did not include Independent Administration language in the will, is the Dependent Administration the only option?

Under certain conditions, a court may create an Independent Administration when all of distributes are in agreement even if such language is not included in the will.

My father passed away 6 years go. My mother continued to live in the house in The Woodlands, until she passed away 3 months ago. I found both Wills and I am the beneficiary under both. How can I transfer title to the house to myself?

You may contact a probate attorney in The Woodlands to file applications to probate your parents’ wills. Your father’s Will can only be probated as a Muniment of Title  because it is past the filing 4-year deadline from the date of his death.

Are Muniment of Title proceedings expensive?

 They are usually less expensive than the other probate proceedings.

My mother died without a will in Montgomery County, Texas. She left a bank account and a paid car.  Would a Muniment of Title proceeding be appropriate?

No, a probate attorney cannot file for a Muniment of Title if there is no Will. If the bank account and the value of the car are under $50,000.00, your probate lawyer may be able to file a Small Estate Affidavit  which does not require an estate administration, therefore, keeping your legal costs low.

My mother appointed me executor on her Will.  She lives in Montgomery County. I have heard that being an executor is a lot of work. What are the typical duties for an executor of an estate in Montgomery County?

All probate and estate administration cases in Montgomery County are handled by County Court at Law Number Two. The judge of CCL#2 has posted a very helpful handbook on the court's website summarizing the duties of an executor in a Dependent Administration and those of an executor in an Independent Administration as follows: 

Independent Administrator Handbook

Dependent Administrator Handbook