How I learned to stop worrying and love probate, Part 1.

Written by Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
fearthumbnailMost people don’t know what probate is but they know that they don’t like it. They know that they should be afraid of it and try to avoid probate at all cost.

This fear of probate has come about recently because of some individuals or groups trying to sell people, mostly seniors, trust forms or packages. The best, surefire way to sell a senior something is to make him afraid. So these individuals or groups try to scare seniors about probate in order to sell the seniors their trust forms or some similar package which they claim will avoid the dreaded probate. They come into a town and send out invitations for a free dinner or a free lunch and try to sell these packages. In truth, the seniors end up paying these groups much more than they would ordinarily pay a lawyer for helping them with probate.

In this first part of a series of post dealing with probate, I want to go over the probate process and tell you why we have it and what it does. When a person dies (the decedent), his property passes to somebody. Who does it pass to? If he has a will, his property passes to who ever he gives it to in his will. If he doesn’t have a will, his property passes to his heirs as defined by state law. So how does the public know to whom his property passes? By probate! Probate in its basic form is just the means to notify the public who gets legal title to the property of the person who has died. It is the official notification, so to speak.

One of probate’s functions is to insure that there are not breaks in title to property. If a title examiner is researching the title to a piece of property and the deed records show that the property was in the name of the decedent but that someone else (his wife or children) are trying to sell it, his first question will be, ‘why isn’t the title holder signing the deed’ because he doesn’t know that the title holder is dead and he just sees a break in the title. Even though the (wife or children) tell the examiner that the property is theirs, the examiner needs some legal papers to show ownership. Probate cures that problem and shows that legal title has passed from the decedent to (his wife or children) through the probate proceeding and the title examiner will be able to approve the title.

In the next part of “How I learned to stop worrying and love probate,” I’ll discuss the problems that can arise when someone uses these preprinted trust forms with out the assistance of a lawyer.

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The slayer rule doesn’t always apply

The slayer rule means that a person who murders another person cannot inherit from that person. Texas doesn’t have the slayer rule but there are other methods of keeping the slayer from inheriting.
In a recent article in England, the courts let the wife inherit from her husband that she murdered because he had been so abusive toward her.

Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

Why Us?

Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.

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