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Questions Answered by Terry Lynn Garrett
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: What happens when the demand is submitted to the courts?

I understand I have to wait 15 months after the executor was assigned to request the accounting. Then I know once I find a lawyer, that they will write up some kind of demand letter to the court. I'm curious what happens then. Does the court notify the executor? Do we have him served? Is there a... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Nov 14, 2019

Your lawyer will write the executor. The executor has 60 days to produce an accounting. If he does not, you can ask your lawyer to file a motion to have him removed.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: My mom left real estate investment to me in her will. Does that go to estate first, or to me?

I am also the executor of the estate. I am wondering if the real estate investment has to go to the estate first, then be distributed to me, or can it come directly to me.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Nov 14, 2019

The Will must be submitted to court for probating: proving what she owed, what she owes and who gets what is left over. Nothing in the will can go directly to anyone.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Texas on
Q: My father passed away and I live in his house, how do I transfer ownership in my name so I can sell?

My father passed away and I live in his house, my brother doesn't want anything out if it and said he will sign whatever needs to be signed, I had another brother who passed away, he had 4 kids they will all sign as well, what paperwork do I need to file? We do not want to go to probate, would an... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Nov 14, 2019

In theory, if your father left nothing but the house and had no debts (owed no income or property or other taxes, had no medical or funeral expenses, had no credit card debt, never used Medicaid, etc.), a title company would accept an Affidavit of Heirship and you could avoid probate. A court... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Texas on
Q: My dad passed in Texas a month ago. No will. Both of my brothers are incarcerated. I'm in Montana. What can I do?

I have death certificate too. One wants probate the other, heirship. Sister in law is power of attorney over one brother. What rights does she have as his power of attorney?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Nov 6, 2019

The agent under a power of attorney can do no more than the person granting it. If that person is a convicted felon who has not had his rights restored, he cannot act as administrator of the estate and neither can his agent.

An Affidavit of Heirship only passes title to real property and...
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2 Answers | Asked in Tax Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Texas on
Q: What are the tax implications of gifting a home to your children?

My parents are going to gift one of their properties to me and my adult disabled child. There will be a substantial capital gains tax on this property. How do we go about transferring ownership without a realtor? When and how will this capital gains tax be due?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Nov 6, 2019

When a property received by gift is sold, capital gains taxes are due on the difference between the net sale price and the value of the property at the time of the last prior sale -- not at the time of the gift. As the years pass, this could be hefty.

In contrast, if a property received by...
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4 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Can I legally forfeit my rights or claims to my father's estate?

Father passed away without a will. We have been estranged for 10 plus years. I have three other siblings.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Nov 4, 2019

You can file a disclaimer. Your interest will then pass to your children.

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2 Answers | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on
Q: My mother-in-law was a Medicaid recipient living in a nursing home and passed away in September.

Her house is titled solely in her name. She has no surviving spouse or minor dependent children. It has been almost 2 months since her death and we have not received a letter of intent (LOI) from MERP. She had no will and since the house is her only asset, we do not plan to open a probate. In... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 31, 2019

It is common not to receive a MERP claim for months. There is no statute of limitations (time limit) by which MERP must submit a claim. If you do not open a probate, MERP may do so.

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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: can i remove my brother as executor of my moms estate
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 30, 2019

If your mother named your brother and the court appointed him, only the court can remove him. You can petition the court to remove him if he has not produced an accounting within 60 days following your demand after 15 months or if he has not distributed the estate after two years or if you have... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: How to file to become an executor over a very small estate.
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 28, 2019

Depending on what is in the estate and on your relationship to the deceased, you and all the other heirs may be able to file an Affidavit of Small Estate. When people try to do these without a lawyer, about half are denied. There are some detailed, perhaps rather persnickety, requirements. Hire... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Is there a law stating utilities have to be maintained with an estate in probate

I am the administrator of estate and funds are running low house has been on market since November 2017

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 23, 2019

How unfortunate! While an executor is required to preserve the estate, you cannot pay what you do not have. Maybe you can revisit the situation with the realtor to determine what can be done to sell the house.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: What should I do if a close friend left me property in his will but his heirs aren’t interested in opening probate?

His heirs are distant relatives and none of them want to be administrator. Also, the will is handwritten and a copy was sent to me by his cousin because she thinks it’s not fair that her other cousins aren’t taking action on his estate. Do I have any recourse? If I open probate as an interested... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 14, 2019

You as beneficiary may submit the original Will or, if you cannot obtain it, a copy of the original Will for probate. You will need the help of a probate lawyer who practices in the county where your friend lived and died.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Energy, Oil and Gas and Probate for Texas on
Q: My father passed away intestate (no will), he owned his home, am I responsible for paying his utility bills?

Are his children responsible for paying the light, water, and gas bill? We plan to sell the home once cleaned, but no one is living in the home since his passing.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 11, 2019

After the Court appoints an administrator, giving that person authority over your father's property, that person is responsible for maintaining the estate.

Meanwhile, you and your siblings may want to keep the utilities on in order to maintain the property in good shape. That should bring...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: My father passed away intestate, but he left my name as beneficiary on his bank account. What are my responsibilities?

Am I required to disclose the amount to anyone? Do I have to split it with anyone? Am I supposed to use it to pay his bills? He did have life insurance with another relative listed as the beneficiary. He also owned his home and his vehicles. I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 9, 2019

If the account was pay on death to you or joint with right of survivorship in you, the money is yours on presentation of a death certificate and identification.

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5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Texas on
Q: Does a deed need to be in parent's name in order to be considered an heir to property?

Parent died and spouse still living but the house deed was never put in his name.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 3, 2019

Yes. The deed is not just some piece of paper but the official record of who owns the property.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: When was the executor appointed?

If I have to wait 15 months after the executor has been appointed to demand accounting. How do I know when that is? The executor was named in the will. So was he appointed the day of the death?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 3, 2019

An executor is appointed by the local probate court. Check the court records.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: My mom died without a will. Are the jewelries will be part of the estate?

Our stepfather doesn't want to give the jewelries from my mother. Before she died she told him that it belongs to her children. Most of them were bought when she was still single (not married to him) and some are from my grandmother. What action should we do? He doesn't even want to show us the... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 3, 2019

Everything she owned is part of her estate. Personal property which she bought before the marriage is her separate property, a share of which passes to her children from a previous marriage.

Any heir can probate the estate. Hire a local probate lawyer.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Can I take the Executor to court if hes not doing things correctly?

The will states that if I contest or attack the will I lose my inheritance. It also states that we can no go to court over the administration of the estate other than all the filings the executor has to file with the court. But can I take the executor to court if hes being fishy about things? He... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 2, 2019

Some Wills allow the executor to make distributions before paying all the creditors. You might want to review the Will before concluding that the action was "fishy." If an executor does not provide an accounting, you may hire an attorney to file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause. If the Court... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: The executor of our will is saying that he does not to show us any paperwork except the will. We asked to see the pape

The executor of our will is saying that he does not to show us any paperwork except the will. We asked to see the paperwork to show how he came up with the inheritance amount but hes saying he doesn't have to show us. It's being split between 2 people. There's a sale of a condo, then repayment... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 2, 2019

15 months after the executor has been appointed by the court a beneficiary may demand an accounting. An executor has 60 days to produce the accounting.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Is moms will valid from 1983, I found yesterday, if she died in 2016? Will it be honored?

I'm the only beneficiary for mom.when she died we didnt k ow she had a will so my stepdad became the beneficiary. He gave me a choice to sell or move into my home now which belonged to mom. Theres a note in his name and I'm supposed to be paying this but due to financial strain he has been and is... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 29, 2019

The date of the Will generally does not matter. A Will which is submitted for probate more than four years after the date of death can only be used to pass title. You cannot just take it to the courthouse. You must hire a local probate lawyer to represent you. Considering the complications you... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Health Care Law for Texas on
Q: A friend is dying. He has one sister and they don’t speak. I don’t know how to contact her and he doesn’t want to. I am

His medical power of attorney. Is it too late to get him to sign a will in hospice? I just want to use his money to pay for his cremation if he even has enough.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 26, 2019

Legal capacity to sign a Will is not determined by whether or not one is in hospice. You might want to contact a local elder lawyer: we make house calls. If so, use the Find a Lawyer function on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (eee.naela.org)

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