Determination of Heirship

Bedford Determination of Heirship Attorneys

Resolving Heir Issues in Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant Counties

When someone passes away without a will, their estate is subject to Texas’s intestacy laws. Estate assets will still go through probate, but property will ultimately be distributed to the deceased’s most immediate surviving relatives. These distributions can quickly become complicated if the deceased has no apparent heirs or if there is a dispute over who is (or is not) an heir. A determination of heirship is a legal proceeding used to resolve these conflicts and determine who gets what.

A determination of heirship is a complex and often contentious process, but our compassionate team at Holland McGill Law can guide you through it and represent your interests every step of the way. Our Bedford determination of heirship lawyers have decades of combined experience and understand how these matters are decided in Texas. Your comfort and satisfaction are important to us, which is why we are determined to make these proceedings as efficient and painless as possible. We will treat you like a member of our family and fight to secure the favorable outcome you deserve.

If your loved one passed away without a will and there is confusion over who will inherit their property, do not hesitate to call (817) 934-5922 or contact us online. We offer free initial consultations and provide our legal services in English and Gujarati.

When Is a Determination of Heirship Necessary in Texas?

A determination of heirship may not be necessary even if someone dies without a will. Remember, the process is used to resolve disputes over heirship and/or discover missing or unknown heirs. If everyone agrees on who the deceased person’s heirs are, probate can proceed without going through this process, and estate assets will be distributed in accordance with Texas’s intestacy laws.

If there is any ambiguity over who is and is not an heir, a determination of heirship may be needed. For example, consider a situation where a person never formally married their spouse, but their relationship appears to meet the criteria for a common law marriage. The spouse claims they are entitled to some of the deceased’s property, but the deceased’s children disagree, claiming they were not married. In these cases, banks and other financial institutions will want legal clarity before they transfer any assets.

Similarly, a determination of heirship may be necessary if there are no apparent heirs or if there is reason to believe there is at least one missing or unknown heir. In cases involving missing or unknown heirs, these proceedings are only needed if there are no immediate heirs (such as a spouse, children, or parents) who stand to inherit the deceased’s property. 

Determinations of heirship are one of the more expensive probate procedures, so you should not pursue one unless it is absolutely necessary. Our Bedford determination of heirship attorneys can review your circumstances and advise whether this is the best path forward.

How Determinations of Heirship Work in Texas

To start determination of heirship proceedings, someone must file an application with the appropriate Texas court. Not just anyone can request a determination of heirship, however. The applicant must have standing, or their request will not be considered.

In Texas, the following parties can request a determination of heirship:

  • The executor of the deceased’s estate
  • The guardian of the deceased’s estate
  • A person claiming to be an heir of any part of the deceased’s estate
  • A person claiming to be a creditor of the deceased’s estate
  • A trustee who is holding assets for the benefit of the deceased

Once the court receives an application from a person with standing, they will publish a notice in a local newspaper and appoint an independent investigator, called the “attorney ad litem.” This investigator will work to identify and locate all missing or unknown heirs.

Next, you and the attorney ad litem will review all relevant paperwork and interview at least two witnesses. These witnesses must be disinterested, meaning they will not be affected by the outcome of the case.

At a scheduled hearing, your legal representation and the attorney ad litem will interview the witnesses about the deceased’s family. The judge will review all available evidence, including the investigative findings of the attorney ad litem, and issue a court order. This enforceable order will name the deceased’s heirs and allow them to collect the estate property they are entitled to under the law.

Our Bedford determination of heirship lawyers will fiercely represent your interests throughout this process. Our team at Holland McGill Law understands how to effectively advocate for our clients in and out of the courtroom and will fight to secure a just result. 

Considering requesting a determination of heirship in Texas? Call (817) 934-5922 or contact us online to discuss your case with us.

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