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Christene (Chris) Krupa Downs
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Who to Contact in Texas After the Loss of a Loved One

Christene Krupa DownsReviewsout of 7 reviews
Christene “Chris” Krupa Downs
Rated by Super Lawyers


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loved one passes
Loved one passes

The emotional toll of losing a loved one is immense. The fog of grief can make the stress of navigating Texas probate even more challenging. Every week, our estate planning attorneys receive calls or emails from people who have recently lost a beloved family member and aren’t sure what to do next.

When you’re uncertain about handling your loved one’s debts, questioning their will, or dealing with unexpected creditors, who can you turn to for guidance? Probate and estate planning matters require expert assistance. Experienced estate planning and probate attorneys specialize in these areas, offering compassionate support through the process and understand how difficult the decisions you must make are after losing your loved one.

First Steps in Texas to Take When a Family Member Dies

Your first step should be to get a legal pronouncement of death. If you are not in a medical care facility and no physician is present, then you must contact someone to pronounce the death.

Once you have a formal declaration of death, then your next phone calls should be:

  • Notifying the county coroner or the deceased’s doctor
  • Personally informing close family and friends
  • If the person was an employer, alert their employer

Who Should I Contact After My Loved One Died in Texas?

Once you’ve contacted the authorities, medical support, and your family and friends, it’s time to turn your attention to the legal matters following someone’s death. There may be several entities or professionals who handled your family member’s personal and financial affairs, like:

  • Tax preparer or accountant
  • Wills and trust attorney
  • Life insurance carrier
  • Any agency that provides health care benefits, like Medicaid or health insurance
  • Any agency that provided other benefits, like the Social Security Administration

Navigating Texas Probate After Your Loved One Dies

The legal hurdles of probating your loved one’s estate, following the terms of the will, and settling any necessary debts can be complex. Many people trust an experienced DFW estate planning lawyer to create an estate plan, so check your loved one’s files to see if they have done so. Following the estate plan under the guidance of your loved one’s will and trust lawyer can make the probate process much simpler.

Texas Probate

Probate is the legal method of transferring the assets of a deceased person to their heirs and beneficiaries. It involves the county probate court in the county where your loved one passed away and is overseen by a probate judge. When your loved one has a will or created trusts, then you and your probate lawyer simply follow the terms of these documents.

Texas probate can get complicated very quickly if your loved one dies intestate or without a will. In these cases, the Texas Succession Laws apply. The court determines which assets are allocated to which people. The probate judge also appoints an estate administrator, usually a close family member.

Seek an Experienced Wills and Trust Lawyer to Navigate the Loss of a Loved One

Approaching estate and probate matters requires careful attention to detail, as missing necessary court filings or omitting key information can lead to complications. In Dallas, having the guidance of an experienced wills and trusts lawyer can be invaluable. They can help navigate probate requirements and address any disputes that may arise from creditors or family members of the deceased. This assistance aims to provide answers to your questions, offer compassionate advice, and alleviate some of the legal burdens you may face during this process.

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