My mother passed away five years ago without a will. I am trying to close out her bank account. She resided in Dallas and I reside in California and it is not convenient for me to get to Texas on a regular basis.I have heard that is very costly to use a probate attorney and was wondering if a paralegal can be used instead. For five years I have been saving toward getting probate. However,I'm presented with a few concerns. Besides the fee concerns, I learned recently that probate has to be filed within four years of the person dying and I'm worried that I may be too late. I spoke with an attorney on the phone and he basically said there was nothing I could do because of the time frame and because the amount in the account made it not worth it. Can someone please tell me if there are any other options?
A paralegal cannot prepare documents unless survived by an attorney. You need to discuss your situation with an experienced probate attorney. Given the paucity of facts, a meaningful discussion of the options that would apply would amount to only guess work.
A paralegal cannot practice law without an attorneys supervision in Texas. Contact an attorney experienced in probate and ask about different possibilities such as a small estate affidavit.
The 4-year limitation only applies to the probate of Wills in Texas. After that time, any Estates are deemed to be intestate (i.e., without a Will) and would follow Texas laws of intestate succession. Usually this means that the Estate goes to the spouse and/or children, depending on the situation. You may not have to do a full-fledged probate, either. There are a couple of simpler processes, like a judicial determination of heirship, an affidavit of heirship, or a small estate affidavit. This has fewer notice, filing, and publication requirements. That being said, you either need to do it yourself or hire an attorney. A paralegal does not have the authority to represent a client in court.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline