WE'RE HERE TO HELP
As a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Geni Manning and the entire team understand the emotional difficulty, frustration and stress that accompany losing a loved one.
The Geni Manning Real Estate Group have the necessary knowledge and expertise to assist families through the difficult process of selling the family home and navigating the probate process. Our team includes strategic partners, such as probate attorneys, escrow officers, mortgage specialists, estate sale companies, auctioneers, moving companies, estate planners and financial advisors–all providing expertise to minimize the burden and stress.
Oftentimes the family doesn’t want to deal with selling the family home and all the tasks that go with it (clearing out the home, repairs, inspections, appraisal, etc.). We have a program, ‘Sell Fast For Cash’ that eliminates all the stress and headaches of these tasks.
WHAT IS PROBATE
Probate is a legal process involving the analysis and transfer administration of estate assets previously owned by a deceased person. The assets of a deceased property owner will be reviewed by a probate court; however, there are exceptions. Texas law recognizes three basic types of probate. These are Uncontested Probate of a Will, Contested Probate of a Will, and Muniment of Title. Beyond these, there are also other simpler ways in which the property of a deceased individual can be properly transferred.
If the deceased has left a Last Will and Testament (Will) it will typically address the decedent's wishes regarding distribution of property through an individual named within the will to be the Executor of the estate. The Court will then issue Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration to the Executor or Administrator empowering them to represent the estate and pay bills, sell property on behalf of the estate under the Court's review.
When a person passes without a Will they are said to be 'Intestate' or having died without giving a 'testament' as to their wishes after their death. Depending upon the value of the deceased estate, probate may or may not be required, except for real estate. In the case of real estate if the property was passed to a Living Trust or was owned in joint tenancy with another individual probate is not required. Typically, a surviving spouse will inherit the estate and this will usually not require probate.
Many valuable assets don't go through a will and aren't affected by intestate succession laws. Here are some examples:
- Property transferred to a living trust
- Life insurance proceeds
- Funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
- Payable-on-death, or Transfer-on-Death, bank accounts, or
- Property owned with another person under joint tenancy.
These assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary, whether or not there is a will.
A person that dies with a Will they are deemed to die 'testate.' Probate is required in Texas when someone dies with assets greater than $75,000 in their single name, whether they have a will or not.
The following steps are typical to the probate process and an attorney should be consulted to guide the named Executor or Administrator through the process.
Step 1 - The probate process begins when the Court is petitioned to review the will and determine it to be valid. The court must be local to where the deceased lived. If the Executor resides out of state (or even in a different city), they will need to confirm that they are able to lead the process.
Step 2 - All heirs and beneficiaries listed in the will must be notified that the probate process has started the date of the probate hearing.
Step 3 - After the local court has been petitioned, and the will validated, the estate must be inventoried. This can be a complex and time-consuming project as not only must the estate be inventoried but many of the items appraised. For instance, heirlooms, antiques, automobiles, real estate, art and other real property, in addition to investment, savings and checking accounts must be cataloged.
Step 4 - Next is gathering important documents needed to move forward in the process. These documents typically include:
- Estate: planning documents: will, burial and funeral arrangements, living will, power
of attorney, advance medical directive
of attorney, advance medical directive