What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal procedure by which a deceased individual’s property passes to others after his or her death. Probate is usually necessary whether the person died with a will or without a will (which is known as “intestate”).
Upon death, the decedent’s interests are no longer those of a living person. In a probate proceeding, assets, liabilities, and any other financial matters become the interest of the “estate” of the deceased. The estate, however, must be represented by a living entity.
When Does a Probate Proceeding Occur?
If the decedent left a will and named someone as executor, that person typically retains an attorney to initiate a probate proceeding on his or her behalf. In such a case, the executor is the attorney’s client. Although the executor represents the interests of the estate and has a legal duty to fulfill the wishes of the decedent as expressed in the will, the executor is the attorney’s client. In other words the attorney who represents the executor does not also represent the interests of the beneficiaries of the estate.
Once a probate proceeding is opened, any “interested” party may file a probate action with the court to contest certain aspects of the proceedings. An interested party is someone who has some financial interest in the settlement of the decedent’s estate. Beneficiaries named in the will, heirs who would inherit under Texas intestate succession laws, and creditors are among those considered interested parties.
What to Do If You’re an Interested Party
Should you be an interested party, you may have reason to contest the person who is named as executor (or “administrator,” if the decedent died intestate), or you may have some concern as to how the executor is handling the business of the estate. Since the attorney hired by the executor does not represent your interests, you may need to retain a Fort Bend County probate lawyer to represent your own interests.
If you are an interested party in a probate proceeding and need legal representation, seek the help of dedicated Fort Bend County probate lawyer Paul Romano who has years of experience successfully representing interested parties in probate proceedings.
Do you have questions or do you want to make an appointment with Fort Bend County probate attorney Paul Romano?
Call us at 281 242-0995 or contact our Houston law offices.