Skip to main content
David M. Pyke

David Pyke’s Answers

852 total


  • How can I enforce an order of a muniment of title, if person holding property and money, refuses to comply?

    I inherited mineral rights from my uncle who has passed away. We could not find the will for several years, until we ran across the Original Will in some old boxes. At the time we found his will, we contacted an attorney who told us that there was...

    David’s Answer

    You may need to threaten to sue or actually sue Devon. From what you posted, there is no reason Devon shouldn't have complied. However, it takes more than a motion since Devon need service of legal citation.

    See question 
  • Signing receipt of distribution.

    When signing receipt of distribution in an estate, am I signing off on any future discoveries of overlooked accounts, properties, etc? Sibling is handling estate and wants to close and step down as IA but is wanting to get everything distributed a...

    David’s Answer

    A typical "receipt and release" will both 1) acknowledge your receipt of certain assets of the estate or a cash amount, or both; and 2) release the IA of any further responsibilities or past conduct. If you think the IA hasn't done his job correctly, and is stepping down before the estate is administered, signing a receipt is probably OK, but not a release. Consult an attorney.

    See question 
  • Ladybird Contract in Texas. Costs? Time? Advice?

    My adopted son's grandmother is on SSDI in Texas. She is going to be placed into a home soon but owns her house. Would it be possible for me to have her sign a ladybird contract (enhanced life estate deed) so I can keep the house in the family? Ho...

    David’s Answer

    All other answers are correct. I would just add that if you do this without legal help, you might jeopardize the SSDI and Medicaid. It is vital that you seek legal help from an Elder attorney. There are good ones in Arlington.

    See question 
  • My father passed 2 years ago, he left two properties in his name, bank account, and in his 401k I'm the second beneficiary.

    since he didn't have a will. My stepmother said that whatever he left was for her and her daughter only. I file an affidavit of heir in Harris county. I would like to know if I can claim any of this now, or how does it work

    David’s Answer

    I attach a link to an heirship chart for your assistance. You need an attorney and should open administration and determine heirship. The 401k and bank accounts are probably the spouse's property, but the real estate will not all go to the spouse and other child.

    See question 
  • Closing estate/distributing

    Can an IA force an estate to be closed even after an objection has been filed? Can they force you to accept a distribution? What can be done about bullying? Not able to hire a lawyer at this time.

    David’s Answer

    There is a procedure, rarely used, for an executor to account and formally close the administration at court. If the IA is not filing anything at court, they can't force you to sign off and release them in exchange for a distribution.

    See question 
  • Any way to get a free (or not expensive) small estate affidavit?

    My mom passed in March 2012. She has one bank account still open and did not set up a beneficiary. I am her only heir. I do not want to utilize an attorney because I cannot afford the $1,200 out of pocket cost to close her account that is just ove...

    David’s Answer

    Small estate affidavits are actually somewhat complicated to prepare and carry about a $250 filing fee (depends on County). You can try to do it yourself, but I rarely see a layman one drafted correctly and thus the Court does not approve it. Then, you have to re-file and re-pay the filing fee again. For $2000, it is hardly worth it.

    See question 
  • Can a lawyer be held accountable for an estate going to probate because she failed to ensure anything ever was put in the trust?

    A lawyer was hired to draft a trust for my parents. Nothing was ever put in the trust. Upon my latest parent passing, his will was probated which ended up costing the estate about $20,000 more than the trust would have and has caused a four year d...

    David’s Answer

    I'm not a fan of living trusts just to avoid probate because this is typical. What I usually find is the lawyer drafts and files the deeds to transfer real property, leaves extensive instructions to the client on how to transfer everything else, and the client does little to none of the work (sometimes not even signing the deeds sent to them). So, my guess is the client not the lawyer is to blame. BUT, wait, there is more . . . there is no reason that probating a will should cost $20,000! unless there were other disputes. If there were other disputes, it is highly likely that the trust would NOT have prevented the same disputes and the same costs.

    See question 
  • How and where do I transfer cemetery assignments from my deceased grandparents to their heirs?

    I have "assignments" - they look like deeds - for 10 cemetery spaces in Houston, TX that are titled in the names of my deceased grandmother and grandfather. They both died in the 1980s in Tennessee. I understand they had wills and that the second-...

    David’s Answer

    I would start by talking to the cemetery. If they say to hire an attorney, you need an attorney where the cemetery plots are.

    See question 
  • My oldest sister had my mother put in assisted living and sold her houses about a year ago. Then my sister dies about 6 months

    ago.She had a will drawn up and claimed my mother's estate would be split 3 ways between her, my brother and me. However she wouldn't show us the will. My sister's husband says to talk to his lawyer but won't tell us who his lawyer is. What should...

    David’s Answer

    I'm unclear in some facts, but your sister's estate doesn't change the inheritance from your mother of the funds left. Your sister may have put you in her will, which you may need to force to be probated, which is fairly easy with an attorney's help.

    See question 
  • My brother-in-law sold my wife's farm without her permission ... how do I go about pressing charges on him?

    Parent-in-laws deeded farm to wife with life residency rider, father-in-law died and brother-in-law was made mother-in-law's guardian in court, brother-in-law sold farm a few months before mother-in-law died. What charges can we press and how wou...

    David’s Answer

    Don't treat this as a criminal matter. If the farm was improperly sold, then your wife's interest was NOT sold and she can possibly sue brother-in-law, buyer, and buyer's title company to recover her share of the property. Hire an attorney experience in probate and real estate title matters in the County where the property is located.

    See question