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Top 5 Challenges Families Face During Probate

Posted on in Estate Planning and Probate

Texas probate attorneyProbate is generally not fun. It can be complicated. It can be prolonged. It can be costly. There are multiple steps in the Texas probate process, so there are plenty of points where something could go wrong. It is fairly normal for families to run into difficulties during probate. Although the personal representative may initially have things under control, that could change at any moment. Anything from a surprise challenger to a few missing documents can throw a wrench in probate unexpectedly.

Many bereaved families start the process by themselves only to find that they need help from an attorney midway once a challenge arises. It is often best to have a lawyer on board from the beginning if possible. Our goal as probate lawyers is to take on the legal side of handling your loved one’s estate so that you and your family can focus on healing from your loss. 

The Most Common Problems That Arise During Probate

Even if everything goes smoothly, probate can still be difficult. Some of the most common challenges that people face during probate include: 

  • Missing estate property – Your father left his heirloom watch to you, but no one knows where the watch is or what happened to it. Your sister left her car to your daughter, but the car was totaled in the accident that killed her. In some cases, the named beneficiary for missing estate property can receive an alternative gift.
  • Missing documents – Your grandfather said he made a will a long time ago, but now no one knows where it is. Attorneys are familiar with some of the typical places that missing wills turn up and may be able to help you locate it. However, if the will cannot be located fairly quickly after a person passes away, you may have no choice but to go through intestate probate. 
  • Debt collectors – Most people owe money to some company or another. If your family member had more debt than their estate is realistically worth, then you may have a problem. Some estate property is immune from being liquidated to pay debts, but other property may be lost to cover outstanding debts. 
  • Challengers – Your grandmother cut your “black sheep” cousin out of her will, but your cousin is not happy about it. Now he is claiming that you had an “undue influence” on her decision. A challenge can effectively pause the probate process while you defend your actions. 
  • Frustration – After experiencing a significant personal loss, fighting your way through a complex legal process is probably not how you want to be spending your time. Families can easily become fed up with how difficult probate is and how long it is taking.

While everyone wants probate to go smoothly, that simply is not the reality for many. It may be best to let an attorney handle probate at what is likely already a difficult time. 

Call a Texas Probate Lawyer

Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law has the experience and legal skills needed to guide your family through probate despite any challenges that may arise. Our knowledgeable Bexar County probate attorneys will strive to make the process as smooth as possible for you. Call 210-535-0870 to receive a free consultation. 



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