Must I hire an attorney?
Pursuant to various rulings and official probate court policies, “Under Texas law, individuals applying for letters testamentary, letters of administration, determinations of heirship, and guardianships of the person or estate must be represented by a licensed attorney.” See In re: Guetersloh, 326 S.W.3d 737 (Tex. App.–Amarillo, 2010) Steele v. McDonald, 202 S.W.3d 926 (Tex. App.–Waco, 2006) (emphasis added). Further, it is illegal for a non-attorney to do those things. Pursuant to the Texas Penal Code, the “Unauthorized Practice of Law” constitutes a Class A Misdemeanor—it is actually a crime.
Even regardless of those things, an attorney’s professional involvement provides a great deal of value in multiple ways. The probate process presents a variety of challenging legal issues, including property conveyances, fiduciary duties, and estate administration (among many others). Additionally, the probate process demands intensive research, document preparation, hearing preparation, and in-court hearing performance. An attorney will help your family navigate and solve each of these matters. In short, a good probate attorney ensures that everything is done right, and that the Estates Code’s requirements are satisfied.
Most importantly, an attorney ensures that your family safely and securely receives the property that a deceased loved one wished to share.