Given that there is typically a last will or estate plan that guides the executor or administrator of an estate, quite a few people think that they can handle estate administration or probate proceedings without legal assistance. However, dealing with the Texas probate courts is far from simple or straightforward.
For example, is an estate small enough to justify requesting the independent administration? Do you know what documentation you need to protect yourself from claims that you violated your fiduciary duty to the testator or the beneficiaries of the estate?
The average individual doesn’t usually know much about estate and probate law, which is why working with a professional can help you avoid mistakes that could have financial repercussions in the future.
From defending your actions to avoiding a challenge, lawyers can do a lot to help
There is a substantial difference between common language and the legal use of language, which means that the way that you interpret the words in a last will or estate plan may not align with what the testator intended or how the state will receive those instructions.
It is always best to err on the side of caution when taking legal or financial actions on behalf of someone else, even if they are dead. An attorney can review the will or estate plan and ensure that it complies with state law. They can guide you in the process of administering the estate and help you gather and maintain evidence that your actions have upheld the intentions of the testator and the laws that apply.
Finally, in the event that there is conflict about the last will, having an attorney already involved could prevent someone from bringing in an unnecessary challenge or at least give you a head start on pushing back against a challenge.