Do I Have to Hire a Probate Attorney?
In short, the answer to that question is most likely yes.
If you are administering a probate estate in Texas, then hiring a probate attorney is in your best interest. As found below, there are several reasons why this is your best option.
The Probate Courts Do Provide Legal Advice
This is the way the probate system in Texas is established.
In Texas, the probate courts do not have staff designated to aid the general public. In Texas, the decision was made to state that tax revenues should not be spent to provide this service.
If you are probating an estate in Texas, you are responsible for the cost. This is achieved by hiring and paying a probate attorney.
Texas Probate Law is Complex
Texas probate laws are complex, and hiring a probate attorney is key when navigating this process.
Due in part to the large population, Texas has a well-developed body of probate law. The larger the population is, the more disputes there tend to be. As more disputes are brought to the court, the law becomes more intricate and developed.
In the absence of a well-developed body of law, the courts in many of the less populated states refer to the law of more populated states. In fact, it is common for these other state courts to cite Texas law.
When is comes to probate law, many states with smaller populations have adopted the Uniform Probate Code (“UPC”). This gives them the ability to adopt a set of probate laws written by law school professors instead of writing their own. That being said, Texas is not a UPC state.
Be aware that you may not have to do a probate. Absent a probate, you might not have to hire a probate attorney.
There are several alternatives to probate that can sometimes be handled without hiring a probate attorney. These options include the following:
- Affidavit of Heirship
- Order of No Administration
- Informal Administration of Community Property
- Family Settlement Agreement
- Muniment of Title
- Small Estate Affidavit
- Heirship for a Motor Vehicle
If one of these alternatives applies to your situation, then you may be able to handle the affairs without hiring a probate attorney or by hiring an attorney on a limited scope basis.