January 15, 2023

What Probate Is Really Like: A Client’s Experience

Today’s article comes from a client who recently finished probating their mother’s will.  The client dealt with the stress and grief of the process by writing a first-hand account of their experience, which they gave me permission to share with you.  Read on to see what probate is really like in Denton, Texas.

The probate process can be a long and sometimes overwhelming experience, as I learned firsthand when my mother passed away and we had to probate her will.

My mother was a kind and loving person who was always there for me. When she passed away unexpectedly at the age of 60, my entire family was devastated. In the midst of our grief, we also had to start thinking about the practical matters that needed to be addressed, including the probate process.

After meeting with Hunter Sargent, we worked out a plan to get through probate as quickly and easily as possible.  The first step in the probate process was to locate my mother’s will and file it with the probate court. Fortunately, my mother had a will in place that clearly stated her final wishes, so this process was relatively straightforward. Mr. Sargent was clear that we were fortunate to find the original will; without the original, the process would have been much more expensive and taxing for us. However, even with a will in place, there were still many legal and financial details to work out.

We then had to wait for the court to let us know when we could hold the “prove-up” hearing.  Unfortunately, this process took several weeks, during which time we contacted all of our mother’s recurring creditors to stop her phone, internet, tv, electricity, etc. expenses from racking up before we could access her assets.  I felt powerless during this waiting period and desperately wished I could just be done with probate altogether. 

Mr. Sargent was so helpful, even going so far as to reach out to creditors for us and helping us transfer real property to my mother’s heirs with probate alternatives.  But the unavoidable hearing came soon enough.  I thought I was done grieving my mother, but getting sworn in by a real judge and having to answer questions about my mother and her life brought all of the heartache back again.

One of the biggest challenges we faced after the hearing was determining the value of my mother’s assets. She had a variety of financial accounts, real estate holdings, and other assets that needed to be assessed. This process took several weeks and involved hiring appraisers, real estate agents, and other professionals to help us determine the value of each asset.

Once we had a complete list of my mother’s assets and their values, the next step was to pay off any outstanding debts and taxes. This included things like credit card balances, medical bills, and any taxes owed on her assets. This was a time-consuming and somewhat stressful process, as we had to track down all of the necessary information and make sure everything was paid off before the assets could be distributed.  I’ve never had to go through so much mail and spam emails in my life!

Once all of the debts and taxes were paid, it was time to distribute my mother’s assets according to her will. This involved transferring ownership of various financial accounts, real estate properties, and other assets to the designated beneficiaries. This process was relatively straightforward, but it did require a lot of paperwork and communication with my mother’s financial institutions and government agencies.

The probate process was a long and sometimes challenging experience for me and my family. It was difficult to deal with the emotional aftermath of my mother’s passing while also having to navigate the legal and financial details of her estate. However, it was also an opportunity for us to come together and honor my mother’s memory by carrying out her final wishes and ensuring that her assets were distributed according to her wishes. While probate can be a difficult and complicated process, it can also be a way to come to terms with a loved one’s passing and celebrate their life. We could never have done this on our own; Mr. Sargent’s patience, expertise, and attentiveness were invaluable during this difficult time for me and my family.

This is just one of many stories just like it for my clients.  People often come to me feeling lost and overwhelmed after a loved one has passed, and with good reason.  Even the simplest probate can feel like the hardest thing you’ve had to go through when faced with the emotional and financial tolls that come with settling a loved one’s final estate.  Let Hunter Sargent, PLLC help you through the process and even discuss alternatives to avoid probate altogether.  Call Hunter Sargent, PLLC today to find out more.

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