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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 53721
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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I was told by the Tarrant County Texas Probate Court that I

Customer Question

I was told by the Tarrant County Texas Probate Court that I need an attorney just to get a Letter of Testamentary for my fathers bank account who died 2 weeks ago. He left a will with myself and one other heir leaving me as Executor. His only asset is a bank account with approximately 38,000.00. I am a CPA and have already acquired an EIN for the Estate and am perfectly capable of filing his 2015 tax return and all the Estate returns. I cannot afford to pay his bills, taxes and lawyer fees without access to his account. Is this true? Is it possible for me to probate from Missouri (where I live) ?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.

Hi Michelle. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.

First, let me tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your father. Having lost my own dad a few years ago, I know what a difficult time this can be. I will certainly keep you in my prayers.

Now with respect to your specific questions, let me address the issue of an attorney for letters of testamentary. The requirement is because there are two beneficiaries and you would be deemed to be representing both of those parties. So, without a legal license, it's deemed to be practicing law without a license to represent someone other than yourself. BUT, the process of filing probate in Texas is very simple and inexpensive. You should be able to get this done by a lawyer for under $1,000 and then once the Letters are issued, you can do the rest yourself. You will need to appear in Texas for the probate hearing. Under my terms of service with JustAnswer, I'm not allowed to make a specific recommendation, but I can give you direction. You would want to either contact the Texas state bar association or the nearest law school (I'd recommend SMU) for a referral. I prefer the latter because they take great pride in their graduates and will take a more personal interest in making sure your referral is a good one because it will be a reflection of the school. But, this is not a complicated case so you would only need a 1-2 year lawyer rather than a more experienced lawyer with the higher billing rate that comes with that experience.

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. But, I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you. ………..I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!