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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 is a legal firm with offices in Houston, Austin, Sugar Land, San Antonio, Galveston, and Corpus Christi. Founded in 1984, it handles all probate matters, including trust and will contests, defense of fiduciaries, beneficiary disputes, admissions of wills, heirship determination, and notifying heirs. The firm's attorneys also handle estate administration and conflicts, such as guardianship and conservatorship probate matters, and disputes with creditors and business partners.

Houston, TX 77057

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Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC

Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC

Probate law is complex and usually unavoidable if it involves real estate or over five thousand dollars in the bank. With over two decades of experience practicing probate law for clients in Texas, the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC provides proven probate support in Northwest Houston. Probate case types include Administration of Estates, Probate of Wills, Heirships, Small Estate Affidavit, Probate as a Muniment of Title, and Affidavits of Heirship. The office also serves clients located Cypress, Tomball, Spring, Montgomery, Magnolia, and Jersey Village.

Houston, TX 77070

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Nicholas Abaza - Houston

Nicholas Abaza - Houston

Nicholas Abaza is a probate lawyer who serves executors and administrators in Houston and its surrounding areas. He provides legal assistance during the entire process, including filing the probate application, attending hearings, drafting letters of testamentary, managing the collection and inventory of estate assets, filing notices, and performing other functions needed. Nicholas has handled over 300 cases in contested wills, probate, and fiduciary litigation. He also counsels individuals going through estate planning matters, contested or uncontested divorces, and real property issues.

Houston, TX 77005

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The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC

The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC

The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC brings 60 years of combined legal experience to Houston probate clients. The full-service law firm provides multilingual services for estate planning, wills, trusts, and powers of attorney as well as for the probate process involving estate administration, will contests, and guardianship. All attorneys at the firm complete continuing education to stay on top of new legislative trends, and the practice provides flexible hours and free case evaluations.

Houston, TX 77087

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Kreig Mitchell LLC

Kreig Mitchell LLC

Kreig Mitchell LLC is a law firm in Houston, Texas, assisting clients with matters involving probate administration. The team handles interstate administration, the probate of wills, property transfers, property litigation, estate planning, and guardianship. Founder Kreig Mitchell has been practicing law since 2003, and he has worked as an estate and gift tax attorney for the IRS. Besides his JD, he also has an advanced tax law degree and a Masters in personal financial planning.

Houston, TX 77074

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Holmes Law, PLLC

Holmes Law, PLLC

Holmes Law, PLLC, is a business law firm that serves the residents of Houston and its surrounding areas. It assists clients who have probate concerns by helping them with creating business succession plans, drafting last wills and testaments, making arrangements to protect families or heirs, and purchasing additional life insurance. Other practice areas that the firm works in include business dispute resolution, business consultation, business and LLC formation, and oil and gas laws.

Houston, TX 77046

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Schwartz Law Firm, PLLC

Schwartz Law Firm, PLLC

Schwartz Law Firm, PLLC, which has offices in Houston and Dallas, focuses on wills and estate planning and probate and estate administration. Its legal team prepares wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and HIPAA waivers. The firm also assists with estate administration, estate litigation, and probate-related concerns. In addition, it advises on guardianship of a person or estate. Steven K. Schwartz II, the firm's founder, focuses on probate, estate planning, and guardianship. He is an attorney ad litem in Galveston and Harris Counties.

Houston, TX 77098

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LaRochelle Luna P.C.

LaRochelle Luna P.C.

LaRochelle Luna P.C. is a Houston-based practice that caters to clients throughout the metro. It guides estate administrators through the probate law process and represents them in litigation proceedings involving various issues. These include claims concerning the validity of wills or the mistreatment of trust beneficiaries. The firm also works with agents, landlords, investors, and title companies on matters related to real estate law. Its managing partner, Briseida Luna, is fluent in Spanish and serves as a Mexican American Bar Association member.

Houston, TX 77057

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Law Office of Jonathan D. Sykes

Law Office of Jonathan D. Sykes

Law Office of Jonathan D. Sykes is a Houston-based practice catering to local clients with probate and estate planning needs. Head attorney Jonathan D. Sykes performs thorough case assessments and provides sound advice that can help clients make well-informed decisions during probate procedures. He develops comprehensive estate plans by drafting important documents, such as trusts, wills, and powers of attorney. Sykes has more than 22 years of experience in the practice and handles cases in other practice areas, from real estate law to bankruptcy.

Houston, TX 77065

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Morris Ostrom Law

Morris Ostrom Law

Morris Ostrom Law is a Houston-based law firm that handles probate and estate administration cases. This firm is dedicated to helping will executors get through the probate process as quickly as possible so that the estate can be closed and assets can be distributed to rightful heirs. Attorney Jason B. Ostrom has been provided an AV-Preeminent peer-rating by Martindale-Hubbell and has received recognition from Super Lawyers, Houston's Top Lawyers, and Houstonia.

Houston, TX 77006

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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.