Many Houston residents make the mistake of believing that probate will be a simple, easy process. Hiring a lawyer seems intimidating and expensive, so they try to avoid it whenever possible.

In reality, probate can get complicated fast, even if the will seems simple. Here are some of the most common problems Houston residents face as they try to navigate the probate process.

#1) Beneficiaries Who Want to Alter The Will

Did you know Texas probate law allows beneficiaries to alter, amend, or modify wills? Most people assume that only the decedent can change a will and that these changes may only be made before death.

There are many legitimate reasons for courts to allow beneficiary-requested will modifications. Some beneficiaries don’t need the property and want it to go to a beneficiary who needs it more. Sometimes, a beneficiary has died. Minor alterations or amendments may also be made for tax purposes.

#2) A Party Contests the Will

It’s not pretty. We might all wish it could be different. But it happens: people contest wills every day, and not always out of malice or greed.

The moment someone contests the will, you’re thrown into a delicate civil case that requires an incredible amount of expertise to navigate. 

#3) International Issues

Many people in Houston have purchased property in other countries. When they die, this property needs to be dealt with just like any other property, but now you’re dealing with another country’s laws. 

You almost have no hope of resolving this particular problem without an attorney! 

#4) The Will Isn’t Valid 

Did every beneficiary die? Is there reason to believe the will’s execution was improper or invalid? Do you think the decedent lacked the capacity to alter the will or that one of your relatives was exercising undue influence over the decedent before they died? Do you think fraud played a role in the creation of the will?

If the invalid will is the only will that exists, Texas courts will either rule that an earlier version of the will should be used or use the laws of intestacy to divvy up the property. If you want to challenge the validity of a will, you’ll need a lawyer’s help. 

Get Help Today

The above examples aren’t the only complications that can arise during the probate process. Probate law is complex. 

Don’t try to handle probate alone. Speak to one of our expert probate lawyers to get help today.