As you can see from our website, the attorneys at The Vermillion Law Firm, LLC are highly committed to educating their clients and the residents of Dallas. We offer a comprehensive electronic library of special reports covering numerous estate planning and probate issues. We also update our blog regularly in order to provide updates on the ever changing laws in this field. Finally, our free estate planning and related seminars are always a valuable source of information. Essentially, it is our desire that Texas residents stay informed. Below, you will find several links to useful resources relating to probate.
What You Should Know about Dallas Probate
For many, the chance of being asked to participate in the proceedings in a Dallas probate court is very likely. When a loved one passes away, family members are often called upon to serve as executors or personal representatives. The probate process is governed by the probate code established by each state. The required proceedings are handled by the probate court for the county where the property at issue is located.
The Dallas County Probate Courts are created by statute and run by elected judges. Basically, the probate court probates the wills of deceased individuals, determines the heirs of deceased individuals who die without a will, establishes guardianships for individuals who are incapacitated and for minors, and supervises court-ordered involuntary mental health commitments in Dallas County. A probate court also has jurisdiction to hear lawsuits regarding an estate of a decedent or ward as well as actions by or against a personal representative of a decedent’s or ward’s estate. These additional cases cover a wide range of topics, including product liability, fiduciary litigation, medical malpractice, and family law.
There are certain signs that someone may be in need of a guardian. For example, if your loved one has difficult in any of the following areas: language and communication, nutrition, personal hygiene, health care, personal safety, employment, independent living or financial matters, then guardianship may be something to consider. Here are some of the Dallas resources relating to guardianships.
Elder Financial Safety Center
The Elder Financial Safety Center in Dallas is the first of its kind established to address all aspects of the financial security of seniors. Issues of public safety for the aging population include housing, health choices, transportation, property crime, fraud and exploitation. The Elder Financial Safety Center ensures the safety of older adults in many ways. First, they work at preventing abuse by offering financial safety services, which include money management tips, advocacy in relation to possible fraud, budgeting and employment services, and benefits and insurance counseling. If there is expected abuse or exploitation of seniors, the Center can provide investigation services and prosecution, if necessary.
Dallas Probate Court Forms
Probate is certainly a process, and like other processes, there are usually a bunch of forms to fill out. The links below will help you navigate to the forms you may need for your probate hearing.
- Affidavit of Inability to Pay
- Affidavit of No Debts
- Agreement Concerning Deposits
- Amendment/Supplement to Pleadings in Open Court
- Appointment of Resident Agent
- Civil Case Information Sheet
- Court Created Independent Administration Guidelines
- Descent and Distribution Chart
- Due Process Cover Sheet
- Receipt and Waiver of Notice
- Small Estate Affidavit
Know the Texas Requirement for Representation by an Attorney in Probate Matters
Only individuals who are licensed to practice law in the State of Texas are allowed to legally represent an individual other than themselves in a judicial proceeding. The reality is, in nearly all probate or guardianship matters, the applicant is not actually representing only themselves, but also the beneficiaries, heirs, and possibly the estate itself. Unless you are a licensed attorney, doing so would constitute the unauthorized practice of law. For this reason, probate courts do not permit “Pro Se” litigants (those representing themselves) to represent estates or others in most probate and guardianship cases.
There are a few unique situations when a person may, without the assistance of the court or court staff, proceed without legal counsel. For example, if you are the sole beneficiary of a will being probated as a Muniment of Title, you can handle that by yourself. Also, if you are a non-corporate creditor of a probate or guardianship estate or a non-corporate party in an ancillary (or supplemental) civil action, there is no requirement of legal representation.
Types of Texas Probate Administration
Dallas probate attorneys know that, in Texas, there are two kinds of formal probate: Dependent Administration of Estates and Independent Administration of Estates. There are also a few simpler transfer procedures available, as well. Independent Administration is more common. Although it is less common, an executor can request dependent administration, which involves supervision by the Dallas probate court. Are you ready to learn more and take on the process? If you need assistance, the Vermillion Law Firm is here to support you. If you have questions regarding probate or any other estate planning needs, please contact the Vermillion Law Firm, LLC for a consultation either online or by calling us toll free at (972) 366-7201.