Probate Administration and Litigation
Jones Morris Klevenhagen has extensive experience in probate administration and probate litigation. Probate administration is the process in which a court oversees the payment of a deceased person’s debts and the distribution of his or her assets. Many people are intimidated by this process, and our experience with probate laws and the court process involved in probating an estate allows us to alleviate much of the anxiety experienced during this already difficult time.
The first step to probating an estate is determining whether the estate needs to be probated at all. While many assets of an estate are required by law to be distributed by probate, not all assets are included. Non-probate assets can include insurance policies, IRAs, KEOGHs, pensions, profit sharing, and 401(k) plans; all of these assets can pass directly to the beneficiary named in the policy or account documents and do not require the involvement of a probate court. Non-probate assets also include property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, assets in trusts, and money held in Transfer on Death (TOD) or Payable on Death (POD) bank accounts. All other assets of an estate are called probate assets, and these must be listed in an inventory, which is a report submitted to the probate judge.
Probate can be a very costly, time-consuming and emotionally draining process that diminishes the value of an estate to its beneficiaries. While it is preferable to have an estate plan in place before death, if that is not the case, Jones Morris Klevenhagen can help determine which assets require administration, and often we can avoid many of the substantial costs often involved with probate. Often times opening a probate administration is necessary in order to transfer title to real property, vehicles or other assets.
Often during the process of administering an estate, disputes among the interested parties arise. Jones Morris Klevenhagen has experience assisting and representing individuals in will contests or disputed administrations and will fight to achieve successful resolutions inside or outside of the courtroom. If your family member dies and you want to settle their estate, if you are in the process of dealing with an estate possibly subject to probate, or you feel that you or a loved one are being taken advantage of in the probate process, contact a Harris County Probate Attorney today.