What Are Some Costs Involved In The Probate Process?
Probate in Texas is fairly inexpensive. A simple probate of a will is going to be about $3,000. A declaration of heirship is going to be more expensive because we are advising the court that the decedent died without a will. Therefore, we are submitting the list of heirs who are entitled to the property and the estate. The court is going to appoint an attorney ad litem to conduct due diligence and ensure to the court that there are no missing heirs being excluded. However, generally speaking, the attorney ad litem fees are about $400, unless there are issues.
When you have a multimillion dollar estate or an estate with a lot of property and you have heirs who want to get a piece of that property or are disputing the distribution of the property, then you have a will contest, and things get expensive. That is going to increase the cost. If you’ve got a contested will, you have an entirely different situation. The contestants in a will or an estate administration can demand a jury trial. As you can imagine, that would get expensive and the attorney fees would be taken out of the estate. The filing fees in Texas are fairly reasonable. To file for probate of an estate is about $150. An application to sell property costs about $100. To file the closing of an estate is only $96.
Could Someone Try And Navigate The Probate Process Without An Attorney?
Texas requires full compliance with the estates code, therefore if you’re not in full compliance with their procedures, your case is going to be thrown out or result in problems. Typically, lawyers who practice in the probate court are required to have additional certifications or CLE’s to ensure that they understand the precise process and the Texas law. The problem with going without an attorney is the problems you get when you don’t do it right – it’s going to take more time and more expense because they will have to go through an attorney to clean it up.
In general, people can complete some of the basic estate planning forms. Still, if you didn’t do it right, you’re going to have difficulties. Statutory power of attorneys, for example, are such powerful instruments, that now the courts generally want to make sure that they have been drafted at a law firm because a statutory power of attorney are ripe for exploitation of a decedent’s or elderly person’s estate. Someone who has power of attorney could drain someone else’s bank accounts.
In probate, we see issues of exploitation of the elderly quite often. We see people’s financial accounts drained by their family members. When you start getting into more advanced estate planning, it’s not recommended to do it yourself. It’s like someone trying to do their own surgery or fix their own car. If you’re not trained to do that, you’re not going to do a good job.
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