Frequently Asked Probate Questions

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of transferring assets after the death of a loved one.

Can you get around probate?

Maybe. Every family’s situation is a little different, which is why it is best if you speak to an attorney familiar with Texas probate law about the best options for your family.

What is the probate process in Texas?

Since probate can be a multi-step process that includes settling any outstanding debts and distributing assets appropriately, the process is different for every family. Hiring a probate attorney is highly recommended and may be mandatory in the probate of an estate. For an overview of the probate process in Texas, visit the Texas Law Help website here.

What happens if you pass away without a will?

Typically, dying intestate means your property will pass to your heirs-at-law. For a helpful guide that explains who those people would be, visit the Travis County Probate Court’s website here.

How do you contest a will in Texas?

To contest a will in Texas you can dispute its validity by filing a lawsuit or a petition with the probate court. An experienced probate lawyer can help you decide if you have grounds to contest based on your individual situation.

How long do you have to contest a will or seek probate litigation?

Every situation is different, but, typically the sooner you reach out to a probate attorney the better. After a certain period of time your claims could become barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

What are letters of testamentary and how long do they take in Texas?

Letters testamentary are legal documents that authorize an executor of a will to take control of an estate. Because they can only be issued by a court or public official, the timeframe can vary from weeks to months. It is recommended you contact a legal professional to help navigate this portion of the probate proceedings.

Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions

Does a lawyer need to make my will in Texas?

While there is no legal requirement that a will be drafted by an attorney, in our experience, when people try to draft wills on their own it can create even more problems than if they died without a will. We highly recommend working with an attorney licensed in the state of Texas when drafting estate planning documents.

Does everyone need a will?

Almost everyone needs a will, and everyone needs to have other estate planning documents, like a medical power of attorney and statutory durable power of attorney.

How do you name a guardian for your children?

We recommend that you name a guardian for your children in your will. It is also a good idea to have at least one alternate listed in case your first choice is unable to take custody of your child.

What other documents do you need besides a will?

We recommend that all of our clients also have a medical power of attorney, statutory durable power of attorney, and advanced directive. Other documents may be needed based on your individual situation.

Should you write a will when you buy a house?

While you are not legally required to make a will when you take out a mortgage, most estate planning attorneys highly recommend doing so. If you have a mortgage, lenders expect your loan to be paid and your estate will be responsible for repayment. A will also specifies who is to inherit your home in the event you pass away.

When and why do you need advance directives?

Advance directives are legal documents that make your wishes and desires for medical and end-of-life care known to others. They allow you to plan ahead and communicate in the event you become unable to physically.

What kind of families do you work with?

The Haney Law firm is an inclusive team that works with all families. Our attuned professionals are experienced in helping everyone from young professionals and new or same-sex parents to those facing terminal illness. We also pride ourselves on being one of Austin’s LGBTQIA-friendly estate planning and probate law firms.

What does your process look like?

Every family is unique and each case we take is no exception. The best way to get started is to call our office at (512) 476-2212 or send an email to We treat every inquiry with a sense of urgency, responding as quickly as possible to provide you an overview of the next steps and, if possible, the expected cost. Many, but not all of our services are charged on a flat-fee basis.

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The Haney Law Firm understands you want your legal issues handled efficiently and thoroughly. We’re not here to sell you legal services you don’t need. We put our clients and their needs first.