Skip to Content
Call Us Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation 210-702-2203

San Antonio Probate Attorneys

Protecting You & Your Rights Throughout Probate

When an individual passes away (becomes a “decedent”), the probate court steps in to ensure their last wishes are fulfilled, and their estate is distributed properly. If you find yourself named an executor or personal representative during a probate case, you may be unsure of what steps to take next.

At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC, our San Antonio probate lawyers will work with you to navigate the probate process and ensure your rights remain protected throughout.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (210) 702-2203.

Common Terms in Probate

Understanding the following terms during probate can make the process easier:

  • Testator: An individual who drafts and signs (executes) a will;
  • Beneficiary: An individual named by a testator to receive property in a will;
  • Executor: An individual named by the testator to help the probate court execute their will;
  • Intestate: A person who dies without drafting a will. Their estate is then distributed according to their state’s intestacy laws;
  • Heir: A person with a personal connection to a testator who may have the right to property or executor status if a will is invalid, they fail to appoint an executor, or in cases of intestacy;
  • Creditor: A person or organization who loans money;
  • Debtor: A person or organization who owes money to a creditor.

With those terms defined, let’s look at how probate works in Texas.

The Role of the Probate Court

After a person dies, their estate goes into probate. A probate court is then responsible for ensuring the decedent’s estate is properly distributed according to either their will (if they had one) or state intestacy laws (if no will was present).

If a will exists, the court will attempt to verify its legitimacy. To be valid in Texas, at least two witnesses must watch a testator either sign a will or direct someone to do so on their behalf and then sign the will themselves. The court will attempt to work with witnesses or other individuals involved in the will execution process (such as a public notary if the will was notarized) to verify its validity.

At this stage, the county court clerk will post a notice stating a probate application was filed for the decedent. At this point, anyone who wishes to contest the validity of the will can come forward to do so.

After determining the will is valid to the best of its knowledge, the probate court will see if the testator appointed an executor. If so, the court will work with that individual to handle the probate process. If the will fails to appoint an executor, the court will do so on the testator’s behalf, usually assigning an individual like an heir who has legal rights to the testator’s estate under intestacy laws.

Continue Reading Read Less

Contact Us Today

Fighting to Win

Get started today with a complimentary consultation.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.

5-Star Client Testimonials

Your Outcome Matters

At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, you are our priority. See the different experience makes in our clients' own words.

    "Absolutely Hands Down My Best Experience with an Attorney!"

    This is a life-changing experience for me and I want to thank Sidney, Megan, Mr. Ritchie, and the entire team for all the help!

    - Bryan F.
    "Knowledgable and Sympathetic"

    Derek was very knowledgeable and sympathetic to my situation. He answered all my questions and I feel much better about the journey I have ahead of me.

    - Taylor M.
    "I Couldn't Have Asked for Better Representation"

    The whole firm was very caring and empathetic towards the situation and I couldn’t have asked for better legal representation!

    - Former Client
    "Amazing People!"

    Amazing people! Made my very stressful situation super easy. Always there when I need something and I love that they’re only a phone call away.

    - Yomira Q.
    "Lovely to Have Them in my Corner"

    If I had to choose just one word to describe my experience with Mr. Ritchie it would be, marvelous. It was a very lovely experience to have had him in my corner.

    - Traci M.
    "I Would Highly Recommend This Practice"

    He listens to you, returns your calls, knows who to call in Bexar County, does what he says promptly, and on top of that, both he and his office manager Vanessa are SUPER friendly and empathetic.

    - John W.
    "Considerate and Knowledgeable"

    I was super pleased with Mr. Ritchie’s services. He was extremely considerate and very knowledgeable. He made a difficult situation for me easier to manage.

    - Karl J.
    "They Gave Us Peace and Hope of a Future"

    He went above and beyond what we expected. We will forever recommend his law firm. Mr. Ritchie and Mrs. Vanessa were so much help they kept us informed... just when we thought we knew all the information they gave us more.

    - Former Client