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Decatur Texas Probate Law Blog

Guardianships are not always easy to obtain

Though parents who have children with disabilities or special needs may not love them any differently than they would their able-bodied children, they do have different details to consider. For instance, when a child with special needs turns 18, it may not be feasible for him or her to head out into the world and make sound decisions. As a result, parents may need to consider guardianships.

While not all children with disabilities or special needs require a guardian later in life, many of them do. If a Texas parent believes that his or her child will need assistance handling financial affairs and other matters, then seeking guardianship of that child even when he or she reaches adulthood may be necessary. It is important to remember that parents no longer have the automatic right to make such decisions for their children once they reach the legal age of adulthood.

Probate administration can be confusing and complex

Any type of legal process can be confusing. When individuals need to go through legal proceedings after the death of a loved one, they may experience even more confusion because they are also dealing with their grief. Still, probate administration is a process that many families must complete after losing a loved one.

Having the right information can help lessen confusion in many situations. Texas residents working to settle their loved ones' estates may feel less confused if they understand some of the terms associated with probate. For instance, the executor is the person in charge of ensuring that the decedent's last wishes are carried out as stated in a will. The decedent is the deceased owner of the estate. If a will was not created, the person in charge is known as the administrator and is appointed by the court.

Some parents may consider guardianships of special needs children

Any Texas parent has concerns as their children get older. For parents who have children with Down syndrome or similar conditions, their concerns may have a sharper edge than others. In many cases, children with such conditions do not reach milestones on the same schedule as other children, and some parents may even consider guardianships as their kids reach their later teen years.

Though parents of children with special needs have a great love for those children, they understand that certain aspects of life will be more challenging in many cases. For instance, when these children hit puberty, their bodies may change on schedule, but they could have a more difficult time understanding why the changes are happening and who it is appropriate to talk to about these changes. They may also need more assistance when it comes to handling certain changes.

Probate administration information can help future executors

When asked to act as the executor of a person's estate, it is important that individuals think about the request thoroughly. Handling a person's final affairs and ensuring that probate administration is completed is a complicated enterprise. If Texas residents do not know what they are in for before accepting, they may easily feel overwhelmed later.

It is important to know that acting as an executor is similar to having another job because of the time and effort that comes along with the role. This person will need to gather and protect assets, see the estate through probate, address any creditor claims or other claims against the estate, and distribute assets to the appropriate parties when the time comes. Because there is so much to do, it is wise for executors to prepare ahead of time.

Some parents may need guardianships in their older years

Many people are lucky enough to see their parents reach their elderly years. While numerous Texas residents are undoubtedly happy to still have their parents around, they can still have concerns about how well their parents are getting on. In some cases, serious issues could put those parents in situations in which they may need guardianships.

The idea of acting as a guardian over a parent may seem unnatural to some people. After all, the parent has taken care of the child for most of his or her life. However, older people can find themselves in vulnerable positions in which they may no longer have the ability to properly handle their own livelihood or make sound financial decisions. Depending on the details, a parent could be in need of guardianship of the person or guardianship of the property.

Distributing assets can take time in probate administration

After laying a loved one to rest, many Texas residents may wonder how the remaining affairs of the estate will be handled. Probate administration is necessary for many estates, and this process allows for important endeavors related to the remaining estate to be addressed, including distributing property. Many beneficiaries often wonder when they will obtain their bequests, but it can differ depending on the type of property.

Some assets do not have to go through the probate process, which means that beneficiaries can obtain that property more quickly than probated assets. Some assets that do not go through probate include payable on death or transfer on death accounts, trusts and jointly owned property with rights of survivorship. Typically, these assets pass to the beneficiary soon after the initial owner's passing.

Mental decline, refusal of care could warrant guardianships

Aging has different impacts on each person. Some individuals may live well into their golden years without many health issues, and others may not be so lucky. If Texas residents notice that their loved ones' mental capacity is starting to decline or if a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease has been issued by a doctor, worries are understandable. In serious cases, guardianships may be necessary.

If a loved one does have a form of dementia, the severity of it and its effects can vary. An individual may remain relatively calm and cooperative despite the disease, and others may become scared and confused, which could lead to combative behaviors. Because dementia affects a person's memory and ability to make sound decisions, some loved ones may have to step in to make those choices.

Notifying beneficiaries about probate administration

Closing a loved one's Texas estate is a lengthy process. Probate administration can take months or even years, depending on the complexity of the estate and whether any disputes arise. The executor has many duties to address, and one of those obligations is informing beneficiaries that probate of the estate has opened.

The executor must first file the will with the probate court. After the court confirms the validity of the document, the executor must notify the beneficiaries of the estate within three months after that validation has occurred. Of course, executors commonly take the time to notify beneficiaries before the three-month deadline approaches. Additionally, once the will has been validated by the court, it becomes a part of the public record, and any party who believes that he or she may have a stake in the estate can view the document.

Protecting assets important during probate administration

After the passing of a loved one, emotions can understandably run high. Some people may immediately want to go to the home of the decedent in order to be surrounded by his or her things and try to find some sense of comfort. They may even want to take an item or two for themselves. However, this type of action could cause major issues during probate administration, and the executor has the responsibility of ensuring it does not happen.

One of the tasks that a Texas executor has is to protect the estate's assets until the distribution portion of probate. It may seem challenging, but the executor may need to prevent loved ones from even entering the home due to the possibility of someone walking away with an item possibly meant for someone else. Even if the deceased said a specific person would receive an item or tagged assets, if that same information is not reflected in the will, it is not legally binding.

Probate administration for Carrie Fisher estate coming to close

It can take a considerable amount of time to settle a person's final affairs after his or her passing. Though probate administration is often a necessary process, it can be complicated by significant assets and by having to pay certain debts and expenses. Fortunately, when the process comes to an end, beneficiaries and heirs can receive their bequests.

Texas readers may be interested in reports indicating that the executor for Carrie Fisher's estate has filed documents showing that the time has come for the final distribution of the late actress's assets. Total appraisal of the estate was reported as being valued at over $6.7 million. The recently-filed documents stated that the debts and expenses associated with the estate administration had been paid and that final steps were ready to take place.

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