Laurels

Best Probate Lawyers
2022

The Best Probate Lawyers
Here Are The Top Probate Lawyers
Hendershot Cowart & Hisey, P.C.

Hendershot Cowart & Hisey, P.C.

Hendershot, Cowart, & Hisey PC serves clients in San Antonio and throughout its surrounding areas. The firm handles several practice areas, including estate planning and probate law. Its attorneys have handled a wide array of probate cases, including those involving guardianship proceedings, family limited partnerships, heirship, and power of attorney. Other practice areas include health and medical law and business litigation. Managing partner Try Hendershot was named one of Houston's Top Lawyers of 2018 by H Texas Magazine.

San Antonio, TX 78232

Website

Website
The Law Office of Gilbert Vara, Jr.

The Law Office of Gilbert Vara, Jr.

The Law Office of Gilbert Vara, Jr. in San Antonio handles probate proceedings and estate planning, including administering estates and appointing guardians. Vara is a probate attorney well-versed in the legal matters of clients who live with a loved one's loss or incapacity. He and his staff advise on administering an estate, considering the client's life and finances. Vara has practiced law for over 30 years and has represented his clients before the Texas and United States Supreme Courts.

San Antonio, TX 78258

Website

Website
The Premack Law Office

The Premack Law Office

The Premack Law Office is a probate and estate planning law firm that serves clients in the San Antonio area. The firm handles cases that involve probate issues that include affidavits of heirship, administrations, and independent executor appointments. Additionally, the Premack Law Office provides legal counsel and representation in elder law and asset protection cases. Attorney Paul Premack was named one of the Top Attorneys in Texas in 2019, as well as one of the Top 100 Lawyers by the National Advocates.

San Antonio, TX 78209

Website

Website
Law Offices Of Thomas G. Bassler, P.C.

Law Offices Of Thomas G. Bassler, P.C.

The Law Offices Of Thomas G. Bassler, P.C., has been serving clients in San Antonio and its surrounding areas since 1988. The firm helps individuals in all matters regarding the settlement of a decedent’s estate, including probating of a will, dependent and independent administrations, small estates affidavits, and muniment of title actions. In addition, it specializes in estate planning for asset protection and distribution to heirs. Its principal attorney is certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

San Antonio, TX 78209

Website

Website
Carroll & Hinojosa, PLLC

Carroll & Hinojosa, PLLC

Carroll & Hinojosa, PLLC, is a law firm that serves clients in San Antonio. Since 1988, it has been providing tailored legal solutions in the areas of probate administration and estate planning. The firm's attorneys assist clients with analyzing estate documents, settling debts and taxes, and identifying rightful inheritors. In addition, they represent clients in court and fight for their rights in case disputes arise. One of the firm's managing partners, George Carroll, has been admitted to the US District Courts for the Western and Southern Districts of Texas.

Universal City, TX 78148

Website

Website
The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC

The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC

The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC, assists seniors, people with special needs, and their families in San Antonio in preparing for challenges surrounding aging and other life concerns. When clients lose their loved ones, the firm's lawyers walk the surviving family members through the probate process. Its services include determination of heirship, muniment of title, and independent and dependent administration. Other practice areas are long-term care and estate planning and special needs trust. The firm's namesake, Carol Bertsch, has been a Certified Elder Law Attorney since 2012.

San Antonio, TX 78217

Website

Website
The Whitley Law Firm

The Whitley Law Firm

The Whitley Law Firm provides a range of legal services to the people of San Antonio. The law practice takes a personal approach in assisting clients throughout the probate process and all legal matters regarding the estates of deceased loved ones. It also advises clients on estate planning and prepares wills and trusts to prevent the complex probate procedure. The firm also deals with the estate planning of members of the LGBTQ community. Founding attorney Deanna L. Whitley started her legal career in 1992 practicing criminal law.

San Antonio, TX 78203

Website

Website
Skeen Law  Estate Planning & Probate

Skeen Law Estate Planning & Probate

Skeen Law Estate Planning and Probate offers legal services to families and residents in San Antonio and the surrounding communities. Amanda Skeen assists clients in creating their wills or living trusts, as well as setting up their Medicaid, incapacity, and special needs plans. A member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Skeen decided to focus on probate law following the untimely death of her father, which made her realize the importance of a well-thought estate plan.

San Antonio, TX 78258

Website

Website
Law Office of Yvette M. Salinas Law, PLLC.

Law Office of Yvette M. Salinas Law, PLLC.

The Law Office of Yvette M. Salinas Law, PLLC. caters to individuals and families in San Antonio and nearby communities. It assists clients in navigating various probate processes, including probate of will, small estate affidavit, affidavit of heirship, muniment of title, and the determination of heirship. The firm also handles property law matters, such as gift deeds, contract review, lease review, and quit claim deeds. Yvette is a member of the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Texas State Bar.

San Antonio, TX 78204

Website

Website
Law Offices of Ryan Reiffert, PLLC

Law Offices of Ryan Reiffert, PLLC

The Law Offices of Ryan Reiffert, PLLC, offers legal services in probate cases for individuals and businesses in San Antonio. The firm's attorney Ryan Reiffert helps clients throughout the legal process, from taking an inventory of assets and providing guidance in handling non-probate assets to drafting the required petition according to the proceeding being pursued. He has appeared on numerous media outlets throughout his nine years of practice, and these include Forbes, New York Post, and the Atlanta Business Journal.

San Antonio, TX 78229

WebsiteInstagram

Website

Expert Answers To Common Questions:

  1. What does a probate attorney do?
  2. What is probate court?
  3. How long do you have to file probate after death?
  4. Does life insurance go through probate?
  5. Do household items go through probate?
  6. Do bank accounts with beneficiaries have to go through probate?
  7. What happens if no probate is filed?
  8. What is probate real estate?
  9. Can I probate a will or estate without an attorney?
  10. How many years can an estate remain in probate?
  11. When is a will's probate an automatic process?
  12. What does it mean when property is under probate?
Q: What does a probate attorney do?
A:
Probate attorneys are licensed professionals who represent executors and heirs after someone has died. They provide personalized legal advice, assist with tax planning, settle debts, and facilitate the distribution of assets. Probate attorneys typically represent clients during administrative proceedings overseen by probate courts, although some litigators focus on handling disputes and lawsuits related to contested estates.
Q: What is probate court?
A:
Probate court works with the family or beneficiaries of a deceased person to validate their last will and testament. The courts review the individual's will to identify and calculate assets, pay off remaining debts, and distribute the remaining property to beneficiaries per the deceased person's requests. Depending on state laws, property valued under a certain amount may not require probate.
Q: How long do you have to file probate after death?
A:
The amount of time loved ones have to file a will after a person dies varies from state to state. While California courts require probate to be filed within one year, New York has no deadline. That being said, it's advisable to file probate as quickly as possible once a person has died, as the process itself can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year.
Q: Does life insurance go through probate?
A:
Life insurance doesn't need to go through the probate courts if the deceased individual has named a beneficiary on their policy. However, life insurance policies without beneficiaries, or with beneficiaries who are either deceased themselves or cannot be contacted, go directly to the deceased individual's estate. When this happens, life insurance proceeds must go through probate court to determine how funds should be allocated.
Q: Do household items go through probate?
A:
While the exact rules do vary from state to state, most household items don't require probate and are automatically left to immediate families unless otherwise stated in the deceased person's will. When it comes to property, only items above a certain value or held in title are required to go through probate in most states.
Q: Do bank accounts with beneficiaries have to go through probate?
A:
In the event a beneficiary has been named, bank accounts are not required to go through probate and will be paid directly to the person designated by the deceased individual. However, should that individual be deceased themselves or if contact cannot be made after a certain period of time, funds will be allocated to the estate and put through the probate process.
Q: What happens if no probate is filed?
A:
Depending on the circumstances, probate may not be required in all cases. If a person passes on and their remaining property is jointly owned, it automatically transfers to the other owner. However, if a property is not jointly owned and no probate has been filed, the executor of the will won't be able to transfer titles or cash assets to beneficiaries. Be aware that the specific laws surrounding probate requirements vary from state to state.
Q: What is probate real estate?
A:
Probate real estate is the process that happens when a realtor steps in to handle the sale or transfer of a deceased person's owned home to another individual. In some cases, the house is sold as a means of liquidating assets, and proceeds from the sale are used to pay debts or are distributed to beneficiaries.
Q: Can I probate a will or estate without an attorney?
A:
It is possible to probate a will and close an estate without hiring an attorney. However, it requires multiple steps and an understanding of the law. The first step is to petition the court to appoint a representative for the estate. Next, the executor must notify all heirs and creditors before switching ownership from the decedent to the estate. Once all debts, taxes, and final expenses have been paid, funds can be transferred to heirs. To close an estate, the executor must submit a report showing the court that all obligations and final wishes have been satisfied. While a will and estate may seem straightforward, things can get complicated quickly if multiple heirs are involved, or if disputes or disagreements arise over distribution. A probate lawyer can help navigate these disputes effectively, and take pressure off the executor when beneficiaries aren’t getting along.
Q: How many years can an estate remain in probate?
A:
If the will or proposed distribution of property is contested, an estate may remain in probate for several years. The timeline depends on how long relatives have to initiate probate, how long creditors have to come forward, and how busy the courts are. In some states, such as Florida, relatives have just 10 days to initiate probate, and the entire process takes approximately six months. In other areas, such as Massachusetts, the process can last one to two years, although the majority of probate activities occur in the first nine months. The value of the estate also affects the duration of the case. For example, California and Texas have simplified procedures for smaller estates, such as those valued at $150,000 or less.
Q: When is a will's probate an automatic process?
A:
Probate is the legal process of validating a last will and testament to ensure that the decedent's wishes are followed. A probate judge may automatically clear wills if they're accompanied by an affidavit from the decedent, a notary, and a witness. Some assets, including financial accounts with designated beneficiaries, and funds held by certain types of trusts don't have to go through probate.
Q: What does it mean when property is under probate?
A:
Real estate that's under probate is typically liquidated through the court system, which is most common when someone dies without a will. Home buyers who are interested in this type of property must follow special rules regarding deposits, which are sometimes nonrefundable, and buyer's premiums. Additionally, the court must approve the purchase price.