If the will is not self-proved under Texas law, which means signed by two witnesses in front of a notary, or if the will doesn’t provide for an independent executor, then you have to get the agreement of the beneficiary. They have to sign a form and that has to be filed with the court, or we have to give notice to all the beneficiaries under the will, if we’re doing something different than what the will says. Sometimes, if those beneficiaries are not willing to sign the form, I have to have them personally served with notice. The law has a lot of steps required to make sure that what’s in the will is carried out. If it doesn’t meet all of the requirements of a valid Texas will, then we have extra steps, which goes back to why you need to have an attorney draft the will. If you don’t have a will, finding all those heirs and determining who they are takes time.
Can Someone Navigate Through The Probate Process Without An Attorney?
The probate courts will only allow you to file a small estate affidavit on your own. Otherwise, it’s one of those practice areas of law where an attorney is required. When you go to probate court, you’re not representing yourself. You’re representing the entity that’s being probated.
What Are Small Estate Affidavits?
You can file a small estate affidavit, which can be helpful when a person has a will, and it could actually be a very big estate with the value of the house. It’s a possibility when you don’t have a will and you don’t want to do a determination of heirship. There is no debt, so there’s no need for administration. The key is sitting down with an attorney and figuring out what is needed for this case and this situation. That’s really what you’re paying for, not the documents we file in court. You’re paying for our judgment in knowing what way is the best to go in through probate.
We really try to work with our clients, when it comes to the cost of probate. We offer a flat fee or hourly options. If you come to us to probate a will, as the administrator or the executor, our fee does not come out of your pocket. It comes out of the estate’s pocket. If you are a beneficiary, you end up sharing that cost with all the other beneficiaries as well. Eventually, they’re going to get reimbursed for whatever money they have to spend on an attorney to probate the estate.