James Brian Thomas’s Answers

James Brian Thomas

Dallas Probate Attorney.

Contributor Level 14
  1. Who would life insurance benefits go to if the beneficiary died after the insured but before filing the claim?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Heather Danielle Lee
    3. John K Lassen
    4. Mark Christopher Wolfe
    4 lawyer answers

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. The answer to your question likely lies within the insurance policy itself. As a default, each state has a period of survival, and they vary quite a bit. Texas, for example, imposes a survivorship requirement of 120 hours, or five days. If a beneficiary dies within that time, they are deemed to have predeceased the original decedent. This default requirement can be overwritten, however, and it often is. Most Wills, for example, include a survivorship...

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  2. Can i petition for administration of my father's estate?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Michael S. Haber
    2. Rudolf J. Karvay
    3. James Brian Thomas
    3 lawyer answers

    You will want to stick around for some quick guidance by one of my New York colleagues, and there are many experienced ones that routinely respond to inquiries on this forum. That said, as an heir of your father, it would certainly stand to reason that you hold a sufficient enough interest in your father's estate to petition for the appointment of an administrator of his intestate estate. Your facts, however, suggest that you should spend some time consulting with a probate attorney near...

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  3. My grandfather passed away on October 3, 2011. He left a Will to be divided between the 14 of us.

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Paula Brown Sinclair
    2 lawyer answers

    Ms. Sinclair makes an excellent point. Being nominated to serve as the Executrix is not the same as being appointed to serve as the Executrix. Knowing the status of the proceedings will go far to determine what your rights to information look like at this point. The Clerk of the probate court in the county of your grandfather's residence can at least give you some idea of where the proceedings are, if they've even been initiated. If your sister-in-law hired her attorney and filed the...

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  4. Probate

    Answered almost 3 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Steven J. Fromm
    2 lawyer answers

    Ernie: You're doing yourself and your family a great service to give these issues some consideration before they become realities. Thankfully, the probate process in Texas is not typically difficult for surviving spouses when even a modest degree of planning is put in place. A well-drafted Last Will and Testament, paired with Powers of Attorney to address any period of incapacity would serve you very well. Giving assets away during your lifetime is certainly a tried-and-true method of...

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  5. My spouse closed our joint account three years ago, keeps "his" money to himself. Is that legal?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    1 lawyer answer

    Whether your spouse's actions are illegal or just ill-informed really isn't the issue. Calling it a name doesn't get you your money. And a chunk of whatever is in that account is very likely your money. Texas is a community property state, and I'll assume that you and your husband do not have any sort of prenup or marital agreement. One of the many rules of community property that may apply to your situation is what is usually called the "income rule." Generally, income earned during a...

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  6. Charges for legal professional services to arrange burial and attend funeral / wake?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Joe Newman Perdue
    2 lawyer answers

    It isn't particularly clear from your question who exactly the attorney has charged. If the death was recent, you might not yet have an executor or administrator appointed by the Court. Does the attorney represent this person? Or, is the attorney himself nominated under the Will to serve in this capacity? I would think that it's of primary importance to know who the attorney is trying to saddle with the bill, as there may be some legitimate work done here, but likely a few things that are...

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  7. Probate Distribution Nerves....

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Steven J. Fromm
    2. James Brian Thomas
    3. Rosemary Jane Meagher-Leonard
    4. L Christopher Arvin
    5. Thomas William Dominick
    5 lawyer answers

    Sometimes the best advice is to go get good advice. Like Mr. Fromm, I would encourage you to at least consult with a probate attorney near you. From the sound of things, you've done virtually all of the work, and odds are decent that you've navigated through the process correctly. It also sounds like you're starting to second-guess yourself, and what you really want is some security that "finished" actually means "finished." Probate orders, like any other legal judgment, initiate clocks...

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  8. Can my mother gift her inherited property to my husband ?

    Answered 6 months ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Kendall Shane Cockrell
    3. Maria Sara Lowry
    4. Mark Allen Land
    4 lawyer answers

    This is a perfect question for your mother's attorney in the lawsuit that was filed and involves her. Unfortunately, this site is really not designed to give you the advice that you're seeking here, since anyone attempting to answer your questions would need significantly more information.

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  9. Do I need to go to probate court?

    Answered 6 months ago.

    1. John Gus Zgourides
    2. James Brian Thomas
    3. Maria Sara Lowry
    4. Michael Ross Miller
    4 lawyer answers

    What you're describing may just be a situation where the cost of any procedure outweighs the probable benefit. You've received some terrific insight already, mostly explaining that any work you do would probably be done only to benefit the Estate's creditors, and the work would cost more than you would receive. One thing that you might also consider doing is depositing the Will with the county clerk for the county in which your mother lived at her death. Technically, you aren't supposed to...

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  10. My wife appointed a fellow church member power of attorney ( Jehovah witness)

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Lu Ann Trevino
    2. James Brian Thomas
    2 lawyer answers

    The agent under the Power of Attorney would be authorized to make decisions concerning your wife's care and treatment. Their authority as agent would trump yours as husband. Unfortunately, as you put it, your hands would be tied. Bear in mind that the Power of Attorney likely springs to life upon your wife's inability to make these kinds of decisions for herself. Appointing an agent is a deeply personal act, and religious concerns can certainly play a role in the decision. I feel pretty...

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