What can go wrong if you represent yourself – part 2

Robert Ray

Representing yourself in court

I have written before about what can go wrong when representing yourself in court. Look at this post and this one. The law refers to you as a pro se litigant.

Many people ask about representing themselves in court. They also want to know how to do it. One of the problems with probate matters involving inheritance issues or contesting a will is that the estate is considered a separate person. So while you can represent yourself in court, you can’t represent the interest of the estate. There were two recent cases dealing with pro se litigants and inheritance issues.

The first one involved a man attempting to probate a will and getting appointed as the independent executor as the will specified. Because he wasn’t an attorney, he could represent himself but could not represent the estate so while the judge did admit the will to probate he refused to appoint the man the independent executor of the estate. 13-17-00555-CV.

The second case involved a man dying during an appeal. The man’s attorney withdrew because he couldn’t get the man’s wife to cooperate with him. The wife attempted to represent the estate and filed the appellate brief. The appeals court dismissed the appeal because the wife was not an attorney and therefore could not represent the estate. 08-20-00052-CV.

Can you represent yourself?

Yes. Is it wise, no. And remember, you can’t represent someone else in court and an estate is someone else so you can’t represent an estate in court, only yourself.

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The Author

Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
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