(832) 530-4070

Houston Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys

Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys in Houston, TX

A person can accumulate many different kinds of property during the course of his or her life, and the way that property is passed to others can depend on whether the individual dies without a will. When a person does leave a will, its validity still needs to be proven in a probate court.

Administering a person’s estate can be an extraordinarily complex process for the average person, with Texas having multiple types of property, including real property or personal property that may be considered community property or separate property. It is important to make sure that any will is properly executed or revised in order to ensure its validity and reduce future complications in the probate process.

If you need assistance with any kind of probate or estate planning issue in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC is here to help. Our estate planning attorneys in Houston can help you navigate the probate process. You can have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (832) 530-4070 to schedule a free initial consultation.

 

 

Its Time To....
Prepare For The Future

As they say, there is no time like the present. Our firm believes that NOW is the time to prepare for the future. Contact us to learn what we can do for you.
We Can Help

We are ready to guide you through the process of estate planning, including wills, trusts, and other testamentary documents.

Estate Planning Is Just The Beginning

Our firm has years of experience handling estate matters after you pass.

Get Your Free Consultation

We would like to meet you and discuss your vision for your estate.

listen to
WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY

read our
Case Results

This website contains a sample of cases and results we have obtained in our client’s favor. As you read through our results, please be aware that the case results discussed here are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases. Not all results are displayed. Each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit. your side from beginning to end, guiding you every step of the way. We have faithfully served clients and their families throughout Houston, Texas, for years, so don’t wait another moment to speak with us.
  • No Billed
    Criminal Defense Case
    Continuous Assault of a Family Member
    Harris County  ·  February 2019

    Client was falsely accused of committing domestic violence on several instances. Client had to wait in jail for his case to be resolved because of an immigration hold. With the help of Client and his loved ones, the attorney and criminal department staff were able to strategize and promptly convince a Grand Jury to dismiss the charge. Client’s criminal record remains clean as he now heads to Immigration Court.

  • 42B Approval
    Immigration Case
    Lawful Permanent Resident
    Harris County  ·  June 2018

    Client was arrested for a DWI in 2017 and was later transferred to an immigration detention facility. Client’s prior records showed a previous arrest in 2016 for aggravated assault. The client had an immigration bond hearing in September 2017 but was denied. The client had two underage USC children, one of which had an array of illnesses. 42B for the client was prepared filed with the court. On October 24, 2017, client’s 42B was approved and on June 4, 2018, the client received his Lawful Permanent Resident Card.

meet our
Team of legal Professionals

request your
FREE CONSULTATION

dedicated to defending your rights
HOUSTON FIRM

Back to Top

Overview of Estate Planning/Probate in Texas

Texas Intestate Succession

While having a will is highly advisable, it is all too common for a person to die without one. This is referred to as dying intestate. Since this scenario happens quite often, Texas has established how a person’s assets are distributed if they pass without a will. Intestacy is an extremely complex issue and it is highly advised you seek the assistance of an attorney if you have an estate issue. The following is a brief overview of the distribution of the assets of the state under intestate succession but be aware that this overview does not cover all possible scenarios only very common ones.

  • A person dies but has no surviving spouse.
    • If that person has children;
      • the children will divide the assets equally between themselves.
    • If that person has no children and no siblings;
      • the mother and father will each take half.
    • If that person has living parents and siblings;
      • the parents will split half and the siblings will split the other half.
  • A person dies and has a surviving spouse.
    • If there are no children and no surviving parents;
      • the spouse will inherit the entire estate.
    • If that person also has surviving parents;
      • the spouse will inherit all community property, all separate personal property, and 1/2 of separate real estate. Parents inherit the rest.
    • If that person also has children that are also the children of the surviving spouse;
      • the children will take 2/3 of separate and other property with the surviving spouse taking all of the community property and 1/3 of separate and other property.
    • It that person also has children that are not the children of the surviving spouse;
      • the spouse inherits 1/3 of separate property and half of the community property and the children take the rest.

Back to Top

Valid Will in Texas

It is usually best to die with a valid will rather than rely on intestacy to distribute your estate. There are only a few requirements to have a valid will in Texas. The following is an overview of those requirements.

  1. The testator (the person making the will) must be 18 years or older.
  2. The testator must be of sound mind and full mental capacity.
  3. The testator must be making the will voluntarily and cannot be coerced into making the will.
  4. There must be two or more credible witnesses over the age of 14 that sign the will in the presence of the testator.

Texas also recognizes holographic (handwritten) wills and nuncupative (oral) wills. A holographic will does not require witnesses and can be self-proved by an attached affidavit that it is the last will and testament of the testator.

A nuncupative will must be made during the last sickness at the residence of the testator or at a place where the testator had resided for 10 days before the will unless the testator is taken sick and dies away from home. The testator must have called three witnesses to bear testimony that the statement is the testators’ last will and testament.


Back to Top

Texas Estate Planning/Probate Definitions

The discussion above only scratches the surface of Texas estate law. There are various scenarios that can change how bequests are made drastically. This section includes definitions from the Texas Estate Code for terms that may arise often in estate proceedings.

  • Child — Includes an adopted child, regardless of whether the adoption occurred through an existing or former statutory procedure or an equitable adoption or acts of estoppel.
  • Claims — Includes liabilities of a decedent that survive the decedent’s death, including taxes, regardless of whether the liabilities arising in contract or tort or otherwise; funeral expenses; the expense of a tombstone; expenses of administration; estate and inheritance taxes; and debts due to such estates.
  • Devise — As a noun, includes a testamentary disposition of real property, personal property, or both; as a verb, means to dispose of real property, personal property, or both, by will.
  • Distributee — A person who is entitled to a part of the estate of a decedent under a lawful will or the statutes of descent and distribution.
  • Estate— A decedent’s property, as that property exists originally and as the property changes in form by sale, reinvestment, or otherwise; is augmented by any accretions and other additions to the property, including any property to be distributed to the decedent’s representative by the trustee of a trust that terminates on the decedent’s death, and substitutions for the property; and is diminished by any decreases in or distributions from the property.
  • Exempt Property — The property in a decedent’s estate that is exempt from execution or forced sale by the constitution or laws of this state, and any allowance paid instead of that property.
  • Heir — A person who is entitled under the statutes of descent and distribution to a part of the estate of a decedent who dies intestate. The term includes the decedent’s surviving spouse.
  • Incapacitated Person — A person is incapacitated if he or she is a minor; is an adult who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter for himself or herself, care for the person’s own physical health, or manage the person’s own financial affairs; or must have a guardian appointed for the person to receive funds due the person from a governmental source.
  • Independent Executor — The personal representative of an estate under independent administration as provided by Chapter 401 of the Texas Estates Code and Texas Estates Code § 402.001. The term includes an independent administrator.
  • Interested Person or Person Interested — An heir, devisee, spouse, creditor, or any other having a property right in or claim against an estate being administered; and anyone interested in the welfare of an incapacitated person, including a minor.
  • Legacy — Includes a gift or devise of real or personal property made by a will.
  • Legatee — Includes a person who is entitled to a legacy under a will.
  • Minor — A person younger than 18 years of age who has never been married and has not had the disabilities of minority removed for general purposes.
  • Net Estate — A decedent’s property excluding homestead rights; exempt property; the family allowance; and an enforceable claim against the decedent’s estate.
  • Next of Kin — Includes an adopted child or the adopted child’s descendants and the adoptive parent of the adopted child.
  • Personal Property — Includes interest in goods, money, a choice in action, evidence of debt, and a real chattel.
  • Real Property — Includes estates and interests in land, whether corporeal or incorporeal or legal or equitable. Does not include a real chattel.
  • Representative and Personal Representative — Include an executor and independent executor; an administrator, independent administrator, and temporary administrator; and a successor to an executor or administrator listed in Texas Estates Code § 22.022(a)(1) or Texas Estates Code § 22.022(a)(2).

Back to Top

Types of Estate Planning/Probate Cases in Texas

The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC primarily focuses on the following kinds of probate and estate planning issues:


Back to Top

Estate Planning/Probate Resources in Harris County

Harris County Probate Courts — Harris County has four different probate courts, all located in the Harris County Civil Courthouse. The first and second probate courts are on the sixth floor while the third and fourth are located on the seventh floor. Visit this website to access dockets and other downloadable information, forms, and handouts.

Harris County Civil Courthouse

201 Caroline St.

Houston, TX 77002

(713) 755-6425

Estates Code | Texas Constitution and Statutes | Texas Legislature — View the full text of all Texas state laws relating to estates of decedents; durable powers of attorney, and guardianship and related procedures. Texas Estates Code § 21.002(b) states that the Texas Estates Code and the Texas Probate Code are considered one continuous statute. The substance of the Texas Probate Code was codified in the Estates Code by the 81st and 82nd Legislatures, and for that reason, the Texas Legislative Council does not publish it.

Real Estate Probate and Trust Law (REPTL) Section the State Bar of Texas — Originally known as the State Bar Committee on Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law, REPTL is the second oldest section of the State Bar of Texas. Its mission is “to provide support to its members and other attorneys practicing real estate, probate or trust law in Texas.” On this website, you can learn more about section programs, real estate committees, and other information for consumers.


Back to Top

Contact Estate Planning/Probate Attorneys in Houston, TX

Do you need help with a probate or estate planning issue in Harris County? You will want to make sure that you contact The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC in order to achieve the most desirable outcome for your case.

Our Houston estate planning lawyers help individuals in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood, and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 or fill out an online contact form to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.