Houston, TX asked in Probate for Texas

Q: Father died recently. There was no will. Will we need a lawyer to procede in probate court. There are 3 siblings.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Daniel J. Davis
Daniel J. Davis
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Corpus Christi, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: More information is need to fully answer this question, but the short answer is "no", you may proceed through the probate process without a lawyer. It is referred to a filing "pro se." The process is mostly guided/controlled by the laws in the Texas Probate Code. Having stated that, I have to say I think it would typically be a mistake to not hire a lawyer through the probate process, especially if a parent dies without a Will.

There are different types of probate approaches when a person dies without a Will (Intestacy). An heirship affidavit, a small estate affidavit (recommended if the situation qualifies), an heirship proceeding, an independent administration or a dependent administration (if there are estate debts difficult to pay).

In your situation, is you mother still alive? If so, did your father have children from other marriages (it makes a difference and effects how property is inherited)? What type of property (real and personal) did your father have when he died? In most, if not all Texas counties, the Court will require that an attorney ad litem be appointed when a person dies without a Will and you seek a probate administration. Another factor in how to proceed is how long ago your father died. If he died more than four years ago, his estate is no longer eligible to have an administrator appointed.

Those are some of your initial considerations.

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