Our estate planning attorney in Plano, Texas always recommends that you take the necessary steps to plan for your future. When you take the time to properly document your final wishes you are helping ensure that your last requests are met and you are giving the gift of a lifetime to your loved ones by having the necessary documentation prepared. Many people also choose to pre-plan their funerals.
In the event that you pass and do not have your estate plan in place then one of your loved ones will have to apply to the court to have an administrator appointed to handle the settlement of your estate. This process, called intestate succession, is more costly, time consuming and difficult than probating a properly executed Will.
The probate of an estate is the court-supervised process that legally recognizes the decedent's death and the jurisdiction of a court over the case. The main purpose of the probate process is to verify that the decedent either:
1)Has a valid will
2)There is no will
If the decedent does not have a will then the court will appoint an administrator to settle the estate. An attorney ad litem will be appointed to investigate the possibility of any "unknow heirs" which adds to the cost of administration. The process is a lot easier for your loved ones to navigate when you clearly name an executor to handle the administration of your estate.
The executor/ administrator of the estate has specific duties that must be carried out such as: