We offer flat fee legal services if no will exists. Let’s first explore some of the details when an individual dies without a will and how the court handles that situation.
An heirship proceeding is a court proceeding used to determine who an individual’s heirs are.
When an individual dies without a last will and testament (referred to as dying intestate), Texas laws determine who the heirs are and what property they will receive. Even though identifying an individual’s heirs is commonly an easy and straightforward process, the courts do not make assumptions regarding the identity of heirs. This is done through an heirship proceeding. This process involves a court-appointed attorney who investigates the deceased individual’s family history and confirms to the court the identity of the heirs.
KEY POINTS ABOUT AN HEIRSHIP PROCEEDING:
** Proceeding determines and legally establishes who the deceased individual’s heirs are.
** A court-appointed attorney ad litem determines who the heirs are.
** Two disinterested witnesses must testify in court to the deceased person’ family history.
** Following the heirship proceeding, an estate administration must be conducted.
Application for Independent Administration with heirship proceedings – $2,500.00 or less
All probate proceedings require additional out-of-pocket expenses needed for court filing fees, constable posting fees, e-filing costs, publication costs and other miscellaneous costs of approximately $400.00 – $700.00. An heirship proceeding requires the appointment of an ad-litem attorney to represent potential unknown heirs at an additional cost of $800.00.
Additional fees may be incurred on an hourly basis in the event any person contests the proceedings, or in the event there are special needs relating to the distribution of any assets to beneficiaries. Additional fees are not particularly common.
For more information on our flat fee legal services if no will exists, contact Cynthia Fronterhouse at 713-467-1760. However, if you are interested in learning more about our estate planning services, which include creating a will while the individuals are still living, please read about our Estate Planning services. We’d be happy to help you.