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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Ann Arbor, MI
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    Default Which Survivors Should Hire a Probate Attorney

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Texas

    1 of 4 Siblings passed nearly 2 years ago. There were no heirs for her estate other than the siblings. Some investment accounts were paid out to beneficiaries but there is still another account and homes/properties that need to go through probate (?).

    Another of the siblings has passed after some accounts were paid out but before the properties and other account has been settled.

    1. Who should hire a lawyer to settle the estate? The Executor (sibling #3) has hired a lawyer but no obvious progress has been made nor any answers to questions as to the progress.
    2. What would be considered a timely manner of settlement?
    3. Would the heir of the 2nd, now deceased, sibling be included in pending settlement disbursements?

    Thanks, in advance, for any help in this matter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Which Survivors Should Hire a Probate Attorney

    Nobody has to hire a lawyer necessarily

    somebody would have to file to open probate. Presuming they applied to be administrator and the application granted, that person as the administrator would hire an attorney for the estate if they needed such assistance.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Which Survivors Should Hire a Probate Attorney

    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    1 of 4 Siblings passed nearly 2 years ago. There were no heirs for her estate other than the siblings. Some investment accounts were paid out to beneficiaries but there is still another account and homes/properties that need to go through probate (?).
    If the decedent died nearly two years ago, why hasn't anyone started probate before now? Did the deceased have a will?


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    Who should hire a lawyer to settle the estate? The Executor (sibling #3) has hired a lawyer but no obvious progress has been made nor any answers to questions as to the progress.
    You're going to need to clarify some things. Your statement that some of the deceased's assets "need to go through probate" implies that probate has not been started. However, your reference to an executor implies that probate has been started. A person is not actually an executor until appointed by the probate court to serve in that capacity. So has probate begun or not?


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    What would be considered a timely manner of settlement?
    Probate can generally be completed in 6-24 months (in extreme cases, probate may take years or more than a decade, but that's obviously not the norm). Of course, that depends on probate being begun in a reasonable time after the decedent's death. What's reasonable in any given case depends on all of the relevant facts and circumstances.


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    Would the heir of the 2nd, now deceased, sibling be included in pending settlement disbursements?
    If Sibling #1 was survived by Siblings 2-4 and Sibling #2 died before the probate was finalized, then the estate of Sibling #2 succeeds to his/her interest in the estate of Sibling #1.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Which Survivors Should Hire a Probate Attorney

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    If the decedent died nearly two years ago, why hasn't anyone started probate before now? Did the deceased have a will?
    The deceased had a will that named one of the siblings as Executor. That Executer has hired an attorney to start probate. The question was to ascertain whether that should be the only attorney or should each sibling be represented individually?

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    You're going to need to clarify some things. Your statement that some of the deceased's assets "need to go through probate" implies that probate has not been started. However, your reference to an executor implies that probate has been started. A person is not actually an executor until appointed by the probate court to serve in that capacity. So has probate begun or not?
    That is a good question. Some assets had not designated a beneficiary. Whether or not probate has started or not cannot be answered with any surety as there is no communication from Executor or Lawyer. Not sure if this is due to nefarious reasons, ignorance or prudence. Either way, there have been offers on the homes, leasers payments and expense requests that keep coming.

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    Probate can generally be completed in 6-24 months (in extreme cases, probate may take years or more than a decade, but that's obviously not the norm). Of course, that depends on probate being begun in a reasonable time after the decedent's death. What's reasonable in any given case depends on all of the relevant facts and circumstances.
    Thank you. It seems we are still within the norm.

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    If Sibling #1 was survived by Siblings 2-4 and Sibling #2 died before the probate was finalized, then the estate of Sibling #2 succeeds to his/her interest in the estate of Sibling #1.
    There was a verbal agreement that the spouse of Sibling #2 would be included in the division of Sibling #1's assets in Probate, just as the other assets were divided (3 ways). Would that be legally bound?
    Also, there was properties equally owned by all 4 siblings (parent's homes). Would that be going thru probate as well?

    Thanks for the responses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Which Survivors Should Hire a Probate Attorney

    The Executor appointed by the court is the only person that can hire a lawyer to represent the estate. All of the other heirs can choose to hire lawyers to represent their interests in the estate.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Which Survivors Should Hire a Probate Attorney

    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    The deceased had a will that named one of the siblings as Executor.
    No. The will nominated a person to be executor. Only a court can actually appoint a person as executor. The nominated executor is not actually the executor until appointed by the court.


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    The question was to ascertain whether that should be the only attorney or should each sibling be represented individually?
    In my opinion, probating a decedent's estate is not generally a good DIY project so, in most cases, if the nominated executor wants to be appointed as executor, he/she should hire an attorney. Whether anyone else hires a lawyer is entirely up to him/her, and folks on a message board are in no position to opine intelligently about whether anyone else involved should retain counsel.


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    That is a good question. Some assets had not designated a beneficiary. Whether or not probate has started or not cannot be answered with any surety as there is no communication from Executor or Lawyer.
    You didn't say who you are, but whether or not probate has been started can be answered by visiting (or, maybe, calling) the office of the probate court clerk in the county where the deceased lived.


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    It seems we are still within the norm.
    Except that, if probate hasn't yet started, you're looking at another 6-24 months (subject to the specifics of the estate). Waiting nearly two years before filing probate is anything but the norm.


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    There was a verbal agreement that the spouse of Sibling #2 would be included in the division of Sibling #1's assets in Probate, just as the other assets were divided (3 ways). Would that be legally bound?
    I don't understand what you're saying. Verbal agreement between whom? As I indicated previously, Sibling #2's estate succeeds to his/her interest in the estate of Sibling #1. Whether Sibling #2's spouse is the only person who has an interest in his/her estate isn't something we can determine from your posts.


    Quote Quoting stmfitr636
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    Also, there was properties equally owned by all 4 siblings (parent's homes). Would that be going thru probate as well?
    One's probate estate consists of all assets in which the deceased had an interest and which are not held in one of the following manners: (1) in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship; (2) in an account that designates a pay-on-death beneficiary; or (3) in trust. Real property jointly owned by siblings is often (but certainly not always) owned in joint tenancy. If Sibling #1's interest in this property is not held in joint tenancy, then that interest would be part of his/her probate estate.

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