As a beneficiary of an estate, can I petition the court without an attorney?

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As a beneficiary of an estate, can I petition the court without an attorney?

My brother passed away 1/11 of this year and my grandmother on 1/15. Her Will stated that my brother and I were to share 20% of the estate, share and share alike and left no contingency for either of our parts to pass on to our children if we died. After consulting with one attorney he explained that since my brother passed first and tht the will did not go on down the line as far as who inherits next that my brother’s share would be coming to me. This same attorney wanted to charge me $15,000 to take the case, which of course I could not afford. He did tell me that the court needs to be petitioned to establish who are the beneficiaries and I

have requested that the estate attorney do this but I don’t think he has. I know that in about 15 days, as far as the probate court is concerned, a notice to beneficiaries has to be filed but shouldn’t the actual beneficiaries be established before then? Also, can I petition the court as an individual to make this ruling?

Asked on May 7, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can petition the court to officially have the heirship determined and your grandmother's estate probated.  However, a simple probate with one heir shouldn't be that expensive unless there is something that is making your case extremely complicated. 
I really suggest that you visit with another attorney to assist you.  There are other attorneys with more reasonable rates that can do a fine job for you.  If you are not happy with your current attorney, you have the right to look for another attorney (and should look for another attorney).  You can petition the court without an attorney, however, probate is a document driven type of practice and it helps to have an attorney that can help you complete and file the proper documents to insure that title passes appropriately.


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