James Brian Thomas’s Answers

James Brian Thomas

Dallas Probate Attorney.

Contributor Level 14
  1. If one sibling in the inheritance lives in the home with no mortgage and pays the taxes each year can he take the entire

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Eliz C A Johnson
    3. Henry Daniel Lively
    3 lawyer answers

    I'm assuming that the decedent's estate has been or is being administered, and that the Will has been admitted to probate or the decedent's heirs determined. If not, you need to take a step back to assess what needs to happen first. From your question, I can't tell if you feel threatened by the idea of the property being taken, or if you're looking to sell it to the live-in sibling. If the other siblings want to sell their share, go for it. Otherwise, payment of property taxes has nothing...

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  2. Change marital status on a death certificate

    Answered about 4 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Fran Brochstein
    2 lawyer answers

    Seems to me that the most cost-efficient way to handle this would be to contact your sister-in-law. I'm assuming, however, that your relationship with your husband's family is not a great one. For whatever reason, they may be unwilling to help. In that case, I'm not sure that I see any way around gaining an attorney's assistance. Off the top of my head, and my practice is limited to probate and estate planning, the biggest benefit of correcting the mistake would arise if you were claiming...

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  3. I am pro se civil litigant. When Defendant takes my deposition, do I get the opportunity to cross examine myself?

    Answered about 4 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Theodore Lyons Araujo
    3. Pamela Koslyn
    3 lawyer answers

    I couldn't agree more that you need to retain an attorney to assist you. Financial considerations may make that difficult, but I would encourage you to give it some serious thought toward making it work. If retaining an attorney is simply an impossibility, you would be ill-advised to dive deeper into matters beyond the questions you are asked by the opposing attorney. If you're concerned that their questions may not touch on important facts that are not already known, find a better way to...

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  4. I resenty lost my spouse and he had no will. Our home is titled in both our names. How do I remove his name from our home?

    Answered about 4 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Nicholas Abaza
    3. Daniel Robert Hamad
    4 lawyer answers

    Yours is an issue encountered by many widowed spouses. As the previous comment suggested, you can do something now by handling the probate of your husband's estate, which I would encourage. The alternative is to wait until a time when you wish to move out of, sell or borrow against the home. At that point, you'll be forced to deal with the title issue. Whether or not your husband left a Will is a large issue, and you'll want to settle it sooner as opposed to later. Texas is a community...

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  5. The executor of the will has not done what the will specified from the start and now the will is probated

    Answered about 4 years ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Nicholas Abaza
    3. William G Peterson
    3 lawyer answers

    Texas has separate rules for estates being administrated either independently or dependently. In either case, the administrator of the estate owes specific duties to creditors, beneficiaries and the Court itself. When an administrator goes wrong -- either intentionally or unintentionally, the Court may correct the action taken and in some cases even remove the administrator from serving in that capacity. In the case of a minor beneficiary, the Court may permit a natural parent to proceed as "...

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  6. Pro hac vice admission for probating mother-in-law's estate

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Kendall Shane Cockrell
    3. Maria Sara Lowry
    4. Michael Ross Miller
    5. John Greuner
    5 lawyer answers

    The Texas Board of Law Examiners oversees our pro hac vice requirements. You will find some helpful information at http://www.ble.state.tx.us. Look under their "Frequently Asked Questions" link and the pro hac vice admission process is explained in pretty good detail. I'm not sure if anyone will tell you if pro hac vice admission is easier or harder for probate or any other of our Texas courts. Dallas County has three statutory probate courts, and our judges are all very well-reasoned...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  7. If you are a beneficiary to a trust, how do you get documents disclosed if there is no official trustee?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. James Brian Thomas
    2. Geoffry Eugene Malicoat
    3. Michael Leo Potter
    4. John P Corrigan
    4 lawyer answers

    As the other attorneys have pointed out, it's critically important for any attorney engaged in this matter to know who the Trustee is. The Trust document itself should address who this person is, was or should be in the event of a trustee resigning or dying. Often, as a last resort, our courts can take this issue up and ensure that the lawful terms of the Trust are properly carried out. No responsible attorney would recommend that you try to solve your issues with "self help." Seek out and...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  8. Can a will be contested for leaving everything to two natural children and nothing to the adopted child?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Maria Sara Lowry
    2. James Brian Thomas
    3. Steven John Clausen
    4. Ellen Daniel Williamson
    4 lawyer answers

    There is no requirement to leave any inheritance to anyone in Texas. Parents can exclude their children (natural or adopted) from their estate plan. This act, by itself, does not invalidate a Will and may not, by itself, give you the foundation required to challenge the Will in Court. You should take your facts (as few as they may be) to an experienced probate attorney familiar with Will Contests and probate litigation. Even though your father may have had the right to exclude any person...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  9. Contested probate,I can't afford counsel,

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Richard Kurt Arbuckle
    2. James Brian Thomas
    3. Joseph Jonathan Brophy
    4. Orsen E. Paxton III
    4 lawyer answers

    Both attorneys that have addressed your question are correct. First, you are at a serious disadvantage if you proceed without a lawyer. The benefit of counsel is an expense that you are either able and prepared to incur or not. Some attorneys may be willing to accept your case on a contingent fee arrangement -- meaning they are paid a percentage of what you receive IF you win. Since this is often a big risk for the attorney, a stronger case will be more attractive than a weaker one. I...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  10. My parents live in Texas and have been told their executor should also live in Texas. Any good reason the executor live in Tx?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Kendall Shane Cockrell
    2. Maria Sara Lowry
    3. James Brian Thomas
    3 lawyer answers

    Texas requires that an Executor administering an Estate be amenable to service in Texas. This is a fancy way of requiring that somebody in Texas (typically the Executor's attorney) can be served with a Citation if one is issued for some reason. By the way, most estates are fully administered with the out-of-state Executor appearing once in Court, if even that many times. Practical considerations might require the Executor to come for a visit, but unless something really gets sideways, out-of-...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer