Probate law has specific provisions for handling the affairs of people who have died. These laws are followed according to the specifications that are set out in the statutes. Failure to follow these laws can lead to a lawsuit or even criminal proceedings. Breach of trust is one of the more severe consequences of not following probate laws.
Given the emotional turmoil that is associated with the aftermath of a death in the family, it is not surprising that many people do not have a good first interview with their probate attorney. Death comes to us all at some point, so it is worth preparing so that you are not caught unaware when a loved one passes. The inheritance laws outline the minimum requirements in each case.
Your probate attorney will require some critical information to help them to deal with the estate according to the provisions of the Texas probate laws. This information may include the original will and testament as well as any letters of wishes. If you are applying for power of attorney, you must define your relationship to the deceased and demonstrate that no one is legally recognized as having higher proximity to the deceased than you.
The following article outlines the roles you have the deceased’s representative or executor and how you can prepare for the initial meeting with your probate attorney.
Get all the paperwork together
Ensure that you have the details of the Personal Representative who also acts as the Executor of the will if they are approved according to the law. The role of this person is to ensure that the law is followed regarding allocating responsibilities and following the deceased’s wishes. The lack of paperwork might mean that the estate is not probated, which can lead to the loss of property.
There may be different procedures and requirements if the deceased had a claim for personal injury in the process of being settled. The proceeds from such a settlement become part of the estate and will have to be handled through the probate process. Of course, the insurer or the defendant in that case may want to have proof before they pay out the funds. The representative must ensure that they provide all the information to settle the claim but do nothing to jeopardize the settlement.
Share information with the appropriate people
One of the roles of the executor is to ensure that everybody that must be informed and consulted goes through that process as prescribed by the law. The courts are particularly concerned about any minors and dependents who must be catered for even if they are not expressly mentioned in the will. This relationship can be by blood, adoption, or mutual consent. The law on torts states that the executor can be sued if they do not carry out their duties responsibly.
Rank the priorities and precedents accordingly
It is important to remember that not everybody is ranked the same regarding importance and proximity to the deceased. Therefore, a distant cousin will only be considered as the primary beneficiary if there are no immediate relatives such as a spouse or children. It is generally not good practice not to include the people that have been described in the law as having precedence. For example, the nuclear family is often more important than the extended family. Problems often arise when distinguishing between blood and adopted relatives.
Business law in El Paso-TX also has different rules for disposing of businesses depending on how they were constructed and run. For example, a partnership will require the consent and participation of the other partner who may not want to dissolve the business despite the fact that one of the partners has now died. The representative will be responsible for handling all these processes. They may be subjected to other aspects of commercial law that must be followed as well.
Curate, organize, and store relevant evidence
Whenever there is a dispute about how probate has been handled, your best defense is the records of all the procedures and documents that were used. Here are a few things that you must have with you at all times according to the rules of procedure:
- Death certificates
- Last will and testament
- Financial records and documents
- Inventory of property
- A tentative budget for all the funeral expenses
- Credentials for the personal representative
Use the information above to prepare as much as possible for a meeting with your probate attorney. Your attorney can only give his or her best effort if he or she has the best information possible.