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FAQ2020-09-13T16:35:05+00:00
How does a probate lawyer get clients?2020-09-13T17:07:26+00:00

You might wonder ‘how does a probate lawyer get clients’? For most experienced probate attorneys, word-of-mouth referrals are the most common source, either from colleagues or past clients. In this age of technology, internet searches (either from a search engine like Google or from websites that have information or online reviews) are increasingly significant sources. Proximity is also a factor for many people, but Amber Ramsey has represented clients in many areas, including San Antonio, Boerne, New Braunfels, Spring Branch, Schertz, Converse, Universal City, Seguin, Bulverde, Georgetown, Floresville, Burnet, Goliad, Corpus Christi, and Houston area, among others. When researching probate lawyers, it is advisable to look for any online reviews of that attorney. Use website ratings or rankings of attorneys with caution. If a website shows that an attorney has a 5/5 rating, but no client reviews, how is that website coming up with that number? It is also worth considering that negative reviews are not always legitimate, but look at how the lawyer responds to the review. Are they able to provide a reasonable response/explanation or are they defensive and mean to the reviewer? To see reviews of probate lawyer Amber Ramsey, Visit Attorney Profile on AVVO

What questions to ask a probate lawyer2020-09-13T16:57:16+00:00

Many people wonder what questions to ask a lawyer for probate or estate planning matters. You should be able to ask the following questions and get a straightforward answer: What are your fees? What is the typical total cost of this process? Do you charge a flat fee or hourly? Will I be subject to additional costs or expenses? How long have you been practicing in this area of law? What other types of law do you handle? What percentage of your cases are probate/estate planning? Please explain the process. What are my options?

How to find a good probate lawyer2020-09-13T16:56:23+00:00

A good probate lawyer should have substantial experience in probate matters. It is also beneficial if probate attorneys are experienced in preparing estate planning documents. The area of probate law is very specific and complicated. Even what appear to be simple cases can involve very different legal issues and complications because the outcome and requirements of each case is so fact specific. An attorney who dabbles in several areas of law may not have the same level of experience with specific probate issues or procedures as one who focuses on probate law, even if the attorney has been practicing for a long time. Probate court is completely separate from family court or criminal court. The laws and rules of individual judges are constantly changing. Judges are becoming more and more particular about following the rules whereas attorneys may have been able to “wing it” in the past. To find a good probate lawyer, you should be able to speak directly to the attorney (though you will likely need to schedule an appointment in advance) and ask questions. A good probate lawyer should be able to explain your options and the process in an understandable way. They should not talk down to you or dismiss your questions or concerns without addressing them. They should inform you of what the total process can cost, not just their fees. They should be able to give you direct answers if you ask about their experience. After you have hired an attorney, they should return phone calls and emails (though it may not be reasonable to expect an immediate response as the attorney could be in court, meetings, or dealing with a pressing matter). They should be open to discussing any concerns or questions you have regarding your billing.

How much does a probate lawyer cost2020-09-13T16:54:11+00:00

Fees for a probate lawyer’s services vary substantially depending on the attorney and the case. Ramsey Law, PLLC believes in transparency when it comes to fees. More information about our fees can be found [here]. The firm sends each client a monthly invoice detailing work performed and the balance of the client’s retainer if applicable. Most probate services are billed hourly instead of as a flat fee to ensure the client is only paying for work actually performed. Probate cases generally require an up front retainer that is based on an estimate of total costs, though the total cost could be less or more depending on the situation. Ramsey Law retainers are designed to estimate not only attorney fees, but also court costs and other ancillary costs related to the legal matter. This is done to reduce the risk of big surprise expenses. Ramsey Law offers competitive and reasonable prices because it is ethical to charge reasonable fees.

What does a probate lawyer do?2020-09-13T17:09:56+00:00

A probate lawyer can assist in a variety of matters related to a person who is incapacitated or deceased. This could involve helping to probate a Will in court; determining the legal heirs of someone without a Will (or with a Will that fails to distribute all probate property); preparing a Small Estate Affidavit or Affidavit of Heirship; negotiating and drafting an agreement between heirs or beneficiaries; drafting deeds; dealing with third parties (banks, creditors, witnesses, co-owners, family, etc.); negotiating, reducing, or even eliminating a decedent’s debt; obtaining legal guardianship; removing and/or appointing a successor executor, administrator, or guardian; helping to collect property; evicting tenants or squatters; drafting leases; preparing estate planning documents; and a myriad of other services.

How to probate a will without a lawyer2020-09-13T17:12:13+00:00

Probating a Will is a complicated and very specific legal process. In some cases, it may be possible to probate a Will without involving a lawyer. This is typically limited to situations where there is no need for an executor or administrator, no third party is asking for Letters Testamentary, there are no financial assets (bank accounts, investments, uncashed checks) in the estate, and there are no unpaid debts. Whenever an executor or administrator is appointed, an attorney is required. Regardless of the situation, it is best to consult with an experienced probate attorney before taking any action related to a Will or estate. An attorney can advise as to your options. Choosing the wrong path because it is cheaper or choosing not to act at all could end up costing significantly more money in the long run. Failure to take action before the fourth anniversary of someone’s death could limit options and increase costs dramatically.

My mother passed away Feb 5, 18 I know there is a trust fund how can I find out who is the trustee2020-09-13T16:41:58+00:00

Q: I live in Dallas tx my mother passed in Cleveland, ohio Feb 5, 18 I know there is a trust fund I have two sisters who live in Cleveland, ohio and they can’t find out much is there a way to find out who is the trustee?

A: If you know what bank the trust uses, you may be able to get the name of the trustee from them (or they may not be willing to provide that information). You should talk to an attorney in Ohio to see if you can demand information through the courts.

If I am married and have a property in my name only, will it be split up among my husband’s children if he dies first?2020-09-13T16:42:14+00:00

Q: My husband has two children from another marriage. I have one child from a previous relationship, and we have a child together. I bought two rental properties (the title and mortgage are in my name only) after we were married. My husband and I manage them and use the rental income for our bills and improvements to our residence. I collect the rent and pay the mortgages out of a checking account that is in my name only. If my husband dies first, will his daughters have any claim on the property? Is it a probate item? Is there any way to protect the property, such as placing it in a trust?

A: If you want this to be considered you separate property, the best thing to do would be to hire an attorney to prepare an agreement for you AND your husband to sign (assuming he will agree to sign). As the other attorney mentioned, the law presumes property purchased during marriage is community property (owned jointly), regardless of whose name it is in. You can convey your interest in the property through a Will, Trust or deed. If you don’t, the law will decide how the property passes after death. If it is community property, his kids may have a at least a partial interest (also depends on whether he has a Will). I suggest talking to an estate planning attorney about a separate property agreement, Will or Trust, and/or a Transfer-on-Death Deed. There are a lot of factors to consider, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to do this without an attorney’s assistance.

How can I make the insurance company show me my late husband’s policy that I am the beneficiary of?2020-09-13T16:42:26+00:00

Q: My husband passed away October 15, 2017 and is retired from the City of Dallas. When requesting survivorship benefits I was initially denied because we were married after he retired – when I pointed out we were common law married over 20 years, they then claimed he had a 10 year certain policy and I was not eligible for benefits because he had been retired for over 10 years, but will not show me a copy of the policy to verify this change in their statement. My husband has stated many times over the years he had full survivorship coverage on his policy. What I can I do to see the policy, and if full not a 10 year policy, claim common law marriage since their rules seem to have changed as of 01/01/2018 and will no longer recognize common law when in 2017 they would?? I have been trying to resolve this November 2017, when common law was still recognized by the City of Dallas according to new laws in 2015 in Texas. – – I am currently living in Michigan, but am looking for a TX attorney to help.

A: If they won’t provide information or documentation with a death certificate, you may have to file an heirship determination proceeding to establish your status as the spouse. If I am not mistaken, Texas law presumes there was no marriage if you don’t file suit to enforce your interests within one-year of death, so you need to act soon. Common law marriage is allowed in Texas, but it is not always easy to establish in court. It could be even more complicated if he resided outside of Texas at the time of his death (unless Michigan also allows common law marriage). I would try to find a probate attorney in Texas who talks about common law marriage on his/her website and also has experience with probate litigation. The first thing to determine will be whether you can file in Texas or if you have to file in the state where he resided at death.

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