What To Do When Death Occurs | Dallas Lawyer

The death of a spouse, parent, sibling, child or friend can be overwhelming. If you are the named executor, the closest living relative, or otherwise elected to handle the estate, you may not know where to start. You may find it too emotional or too confusing.

The law firm of Palmer & Manuel, L.L.P., can help. First of all, there is no rush. The probate process moves slowly. We will sit down with you to explain the legal process and set priorities. Then we can walk you step-by-step through settling the estate or arranging for someone to take over.

Dallas Probate Administration Attorney

If a family member or person close to you has died, there are many questions and many matters to attend to. The first, of course, is funeral arrangements. Did the person express wishes regarding burial versus cremation? Did the person purchase a burial plot or make arrangements with a particular funeral home? Some of these matters may be addressed in the person's will.

You do not need probate help immediately after a person's death, but within a week to a month you should contact a lawyer to get the process started. At Palmer & Manuel, our probate law team is led by a board certified probate and estate planning lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about everything that may arise, and an attorney with over 35 years of estate planning and probate experience. We handle probate and estate administration in Dallas County, Collin County and throughout North Texas.

The most important matter is to locate the will, if the person had one. In most cases, the will is kept with other important documents such as life insurance policies and real estate deeds. If you believe that the person's will is located in a safety deposit box, we can file a formal request to ask the bank to open the box, inspect the contents and turn over the will to the attorney or estate representative. If the will is locked in a home vault, we can seek court permission to crack the safe.

The next step is to prove the will, which means submitting it to the court for verification. If there are no challenges to the validity of the will, the probate process can begin. We can guide clients through all the administrative duties and legal issues, offering as much or as little assistance as necessary.

What If A Loved One Died Without A Will?

If there is no will, the estate of the deceased is distributed according to the Texas laws of succession. Typically, the order of succession is a spouse, then children, parents, siblings or closest living relative, but that is an oversimplification. Our attorneys can clarify who would inherit which portions of the estate.

Is There A Time Limit On Probate?

Ideally, an estate should be settled sooner rather than later. But if the spouses owned property jointly and had survivorship accounts or payable-on-death arrangements, there may be no pressing reason to initiate probate.

We are commonly contacted a year or more after death when a specific situation arises. When the second spouse dies, for example, inheriting children realize that they don't have access to accounts or don't have authority to transfer or sell the house. If no executor is named in the will or if there is no will, we can petition the court for you or a sibling or other trusted person to be appointed as the representative of the estate.

Learn More About Probate And What To Do When A Death Occurs

We welcome out-of-state family members who are seeking a local probate lawyer to settle a loved one's estate. In most cases, the duties can be handled from afar, without numerous trips to Texas.

To arrange a consultation with one of our Dallas probate administration attorneys, call the Palmer & Manuel law office at 214-242-6444 or email our firm.