Austin LGBTQ+ Probate Attorney
When your loved one passes away, you want to be able to grieve with your family. The last thing you’ll want to do is deal with funeral homes and lawyers. You’re hurt, angry and upset. And that’s only natural. Nobody teaches you what to do when your partner dies. That’s why it may be a good idea to contact an experienced Austin LGBTQ+ probate attorney.
Despite the fact that you’re grieving, you still need to deal with their estate. An estate is basically when you gather your loved one’s debts and assets. You make sure their bills are paid. You also need to make sure their assets are distributed according to their will.
If your partner didn’t leave a will, that is when things can be difficult. With a will, there’s no question as to who gets what. The will spells out exactly who is supposed to get all of your loved one’s assets.
When there is no will, it can be difficult. Texas law will state who is entitled to what if you’re married. However, if you and your partner were not married, you could run into trouble. This is especially true if you had children that they never legally adopted. Their children won’t be entitled to assets under Texas law if they were not legally their child.
This is when it’s good to have a Texas LGBTQ+ probate lawyer. They can handle all of these issues for you. They’ll open up an estate and deal with the creditors of the estate. Creditors are simply the people and companies who claim they were owed money by your loved one. These creditors must be paid before anyone receives their inheritance.
The good news is, very few probate cases actually go to court. The only reason this would usually happen is if a creditor believes you’re hiding assets. Otherwise, they should be able to settle their claim with your Austin probate lawyer. Call Eddington & Worley at 855-949-0056 to speak with our experienced probate attorneys about how they can assist you in all of your estate needs.
An Experienced Probate Attorney in Austin Can Help
One of the first things you need to do when your partner dies is to get a copy of the death certificate. Since you need to supply the death certificate to so many people, it’s a good idea to get a few of them. You’ll need to send a copy to the following parties:
- Major creditors such as mortgage companies, car finance companies, stock and bond companies, etc.
- The life insurance company
- Pension company
- Veterans administration
One good thing is your probate attorney will make sure that all of the right people get this information. To receive any life insurance proceeds, you’ll have to supply them with an original copy of the death certificate. Once they receive this, they should send a check to the beneficiary.
Once your Austin probate attorney sends all of the death certificates out, they’ll open up an estate for your loved one. They have to do this within a certain time period. They need to give creditors a chance to file claims against the estate. They have a right to collect the money that’s owed to them.
What Exactly Does a Probate Attorney in Austin Do?
Every county is a bit different when it comes to opening an estate. Your Austin LGBTQ+ probate attorney will contact the Surrogate Court in the county where your loved one died. They’ll fill out the necessary forms to open up an estate on behalf of your loved one. You won’t have to handle this yourself.
The next thing your attorney will do is start to figure out your partner’s assets and debts. They’ll find out exactly how much money is owed. They’ll also determine how much your loved one’s assets are worth. Some of these assets include:
This includes the place where your loved one lived. It may also include rental and vacation properties. It can even include things like a timeshare.
The largest personal assets are usually vehicles. Your attorney will find out which cars are owned and which are still financed. Financed vehicles will have to be surrendered. You can’t sell or devise a car that still belongs to the bank.
Other Personal Possessions
Depending on the situation, your loved one could have owned many other personal possessions. Of note would be valuable artwork, jewelry, antiques, etc.
Bank Accounts, Cash, and Stock Certificates
It’s easy to find out how much someone had in the bank when they died. It can be a lot harder to figure out where they had their investments. Your probate lawyer can rely on financial professionals to help him do this.
Even more than money, a lot of family members fight over heirlooms. Things that carry sentimental value can be the hardest things to distribute.
Your lawyer has ample time to determine the value of the estate. They just have to make sure it’s done before the deadline. In Texas, you have at six (6) months to do this. This is why creditors aren’t allowed to file claims against the estate until it has been open at least six (6) months.
Your LGBT Probate Attorney Will Deal with Creditors
As soon as your loved one’s creditors learn that they’ve died, they crawl out of the woodwork. They’ll start calling the house and asking for money. You’ll start to receive demand letters asking that certain bills be paid. Forward all of these to your LGBT probate lawyer in Austin.
The bank knows that it’s the last chance they’ll have to get their money. If they wait too long to pursue their claim. It’ll be too late. They don’t want other creditors to be paid before them. Nor do they want the window to file their claim to close.
A lot of the creditors will be willing to take less the full amount owed. They’d rather get something now than nothing later. They understand that a priority claim could show up and eat up any assets your loved one may have had.
Most of the creditors will hire an outside agency to collect their debts. They forward the account and a copy of the death certificate to collection agencies. These agencies will reach out to your family and ask if you want to settle their debts. You should have them contact your attorney. That’s what they’re there for.
Your Austin probate attorney will try to negotiate with creditors. They’ll look to see how much is owed. They’ll offer a minimum amount to all the creditors. This amount will be based on how much is owed compared to how many assets there are. This is called a pro-rata offer. This means that all creditors will be offered the same percentage of their debt.
If the creditors are smart, they’ll take the offer. They risk getting nothing if they wait for the claim to naturally close. By the time secured creditors are paid, there may be no money left. Secured creditors include the following:
- Mortgage companies
- Car finance companies
- Banks who own personal loans tied to collateral
- IRS tax liens
- Judgments and other liens
The general rule is that secured creditors are paid before unsecured creditors. This means the mortgage company will be paid before the credit card companies. Your Austin LGBTQ+ probate lawyer understands this process. They can handle this while you and your family grieve the loss of your loved one.
Contact an Austin LGBTQ+ Probate Lawyer Today
When a loved one dies, such as your partner, you shouldn’t have to worry about legal issues. You aren’t concerned with how much your loved one owed. Most people don’t care about their assets either. They just want to grieve the loss of their loved one without being harassed by creditors and bill collectors.
If your partner had a probate attorney handle their estate planning, they should be the first person you call. Get them a copy of your partner’s will. You should also contact a probate attorney you trust to handle the estate for you. The attorneys at Eddington & Worley in Austin, Texas have decades of combined experience handling these cases.
To make things easier on your family, contact an Austin LGBTQ+ probate attorney. Schedule an appointment to sit down with him and ask any questions you may have. Take the following with you when you first meet:
- A copy of your loved one’s will
- Any bills or debt notices you’ve received
- A copy of the life insurance policy
- A copy of the death certificate
- Any information you have about major assets and debts
Your Austin LGBTQ+ probate attorney will review all of the information you provide. They’ll have an idea of what your case may entail. If the estate is small, it may open and close within a few months. If the assets and debts are a bit more involved, it could take more than a year to settle your loved one’s estate.
Call Eddington & Worley at 855-949-0056 to schedule your initial consultation today. Let a compassionate and skilled professional handle the probate process for you. It’s time you and your family focus on each other.