Texas Probate, Estate and Trust Administration

Probate and Estate Administration

Navigating the probate and estate administration process can be challenging, but with Nickerson Law Group, it doesn't have to be. Our streamlined approach provides clarity and ease during these difficult times.

When a client passes away, we work with their family and trusted advisors to administer their estate. This part of our practice is bittersweet - a beloved family member has passed away; however, we are pleased to be able to help the family and loved ones implement the plan we helped the client create.

In instances where the deceased was not our client, our expertise extends to comprehensive estate administration. We navigate the intricacies of complex estates, including those necessitating estate tax considerations, the utilization of a 706 filing for portability, or addressing the needs of heirs with special needs. Our help is particularly beneficial in these multifaceted scenarios.

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Portability and Estate Tax Returns

Estate administration may include going to probate court, which is familiar territory for many lawyers. However, our expertise is distinct, encompassing the preparation and filing of IRS Form 706 – the estate tax return, which most lawyers are not familiar with. This form demands meticulous attention to detail and is a specialty within our firm.

We are a law firm and do not prepare income tax returns; however, we are skilled at preparing estate tax returns. This type of tax return is extremely detailed and must be submitted with evidence verifying the value of every asset. We collaborate closely with CPAs to ensure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our clients' filings.

For entrepreneurs and estates facing estate tax liabilities, IRS Form 706 is due within 9 months of the date of death. Our experience ensures these filings are executed with precision with all of the detail required.

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Estate Litigation

Unfortunately, some families come face to face with litigation involving a dispute over a will, trust, property transfer or beneficiary designation.

When a client is faced with either defending or litigating a tough estate matter, our belief is firm: a formidable litigation team is paramount. This team combines the nuanced understanding of estate matters held by a board-certified estate planning and probate law attorney with the forceful approach of a seasoned trial lawyer.

Our collaborative approach with board-certified civil trial attorneys equips our clients with the confidence that their case is prepared for an optimal outcome, whether through settlement or trial.


What Should I Know About The Texas Probate Process?

A personal representative is required to prepare and file an inventory and a list of claims after the representative is approved by the court. The timeframe for this important chore is set by statute.

This inventory should detail all of the assets subject to probate. The property must be valued and even appraised as necessary. The claims include debts due and owing to the estate (not debts the estate owes to another party). This task is crucial, as it offers a transparent view of the estate's assets and claims to both beneficiaries and creditors. If the inventory is filed late, the representative could be fined and removed, which would slow down the process and raise tempers.

One thing to realize if you are a beneficiary is that the will may be “read” a few days after the funeral, but the gifts and bequests are not given out at that time. Yes, you may be entitled to the assets, but the inheritance is subject to the estate’s administration.

The representative's duty is to prioritize the settlement of the decedent's debts and claims before any asset distribution. This process is intricate, involving careful communication with creditors and beneficiaries, judicious financial management, and the diligent care of estate property.

As noted above, the representative must also keep the administration process moving along by settling all of the decedent’s debts. He or she must give proper notices to creditors, to include making publication in the appropriate newspaper and sending written notice to known secured creditors by certified mail. Also, some representatives are under the mistaken impression that all debts must be paid. He or she begins paying the decedent’s bills immediately, which is not necessarily good. Some states provide “permissive notice” to unsecured creditors and this may avoid paying some unsecured claims.

The representative must keep the beneficiaries in the loop, to include providing each with notice via certified mail that the will has been admitted to probate and a copy of the will. In addition, the representative must inform the beneficiaries regarding any information that might affect their rights. For instance, beneficiaries have the right to ask for a formal accounting by the independent executor.

The representative is responsible for the care and maintenance of estate property, treating it with even greater care than his or her own property. The representative is able to sell any property that is perishable or would deteriorate in value during the Texas probate process.

The role of a representative is significant, characterized by a responsibility to manage the estate with integrity and prudence. Mismanagement or misconduct can lead to removal or legal repercussions, underlining the gravity of the position.

At Nickerson Law Group, we are committed to guiding our clients through the complexities of probate and estate administration with unwavering professionalism and an utmost dedication to excellence.

Compassionate Estate Resolution

Contact Nickerson Law Group today and consult with our specialized Probate and Estate Administration attorneys.

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