Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A
I grew up in Austin, attended Baylor, lived in Dallas with my wife for a number of years before moving to Fort Worth, started a family, and opened my practice.
- Elder Law
- Estate Planning
- Real Estate Law
- Arbitration & Mediation
Additional Practice Area
- Free Consultation
- Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
I prefer fixed fee agreements whenever possible. Some contested probate matters require hourly billing. I am also a mediator, and some mediations can go longer than scheduled, in which case I do bill each party hourly.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
- English: Spoken, Written
- The Law Firm of Ross F. Tew, PC
- - Current
- State Bar of Texas # 24084659
- Tarrant County Association of Mediators
- - Current
Websites & Blogs
48 Questions Answered
- Q. Can you inflate the value of an estate
- A: It isn't illegal to be wrong about the value of assets. Amended inventories and accountings are filed when necessary. Beneficiaries can file complaints with the court and object to valuations recited in an inventory or accounting. I need more context to understand why or how the personal representative arrived at the inflated value. I would also consider the source of your lower valuation before complaining to the court. Regardless, you should consult an attorney.
- Q. My Mom was in the nursing home, and was on medicaid for all but 2 months, that was not covered.
- A: No, the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program collects against the assets in the estate, not from the deceased person's heirs.
- Q. Want to amend Granddad's birth cert but am not his legal rep. How do I become his legal rep? He died in 1982.
- A: I can conceive of no inexpensive solution that would result in a court order. A declaratory judgment action or a determination of heirship may result in the court order vital statistics is requiring. Both procedures would require a minimum of several thousand dollars in attorney fees and court costs. Was a personal representative ever appointed for your grandfather's estate? Often independent administrations remain open indefinitely. Perhaps one of his children was appointed as the personal representative for his estate and has the authority to fill out the forms changing the information on his birth certificate.
- Q. Does the executor of the will have to be the one to probate the will or can the beneficiaries get the will probated?
- A: The first answer is correct. I would add that in the event the first named executor is deceased, incapacitated, or unwilling to sign an affidavit, an interested person, such as a child of the deceased person, has standing to file an application to probate the will or determine the heirs of the estate if there is no will.
- Q. Can a family member whose power of attorney has been revoked evict a live in care giver?
- A: Evicting a residential tenant requires authority. If the caregiver is living with your family member and was invited to do so by your family member or someone speaking for your family member, then the caregiver is a tenant at will and his or her tenancy can be ended by your family member or someone with authority to make decisions on behalf of your family member. Without getting into the details of why the caregiver should be evicted, whether the caregiver's POA is valid, or why your POA was revoked, the short answer is you likely need to be appointed as the guardian for the person under the caregiver's control. If you are acting as the guardian of the person and estate for your loved one, you would have authority to hire, fire, and evict any live-in caregiver consistent with terms of the caregiver's employment agreement. You must be represented by an attorney to be appointed as a guardian for a ward in Texas. At the very least you need to meet with an attorney to discuss your situation in more detail and determine what options you have to resolve the situation.
- Q. Can my landlord raise my rent because there was a Gas leak also stop any repairs.
- A: My initial reaction is no, your landlord can't break the lease by raising your rent based on the types of repairs involved. Keep in mind that you need to have an attorney review your lease and any correspondence you have with your landlord before advising you one way or the other.
- Q. My husband and his sister are co- executors of their brother's estate. We have just learned that the will she filed in
- A: The beneficiaries under a will can enter a family settlement agreement which amends the will's terms, but you would want to sit down with an attorney to review the will and the terms you wish to change before drawing up the settlement agreement.
- Q. In Texas, when a minor child dies intestate is probate necessary?
- A: It depends on the cause of action. The administration of a decedent's estate is necessary to pursue a survival action, but not a wrongful death suit. One of the biggest practical differences between a survival action and a wrongful death claim is that with a wrongful death claim, damages typically go directly to the family and would not be included in the decedent's probate assets. Unfortunately, the defendants in the suit typically want a representative of the estate appointed to release any claims the estate has against the defendant before settling.
- Q. I am trying to get my 24 yr old deceased son's medical records.
- A: Find an attorney in your area who handles probate cases. If your son left a Will and you are the executor named, then your attorney will file an Application with the Probate Court, along with the original Will, and you will have a hearing to prove that the Will is valid and get your Letters Testamentary. That is what shows the doctor you have authority to obtain your son's medical records. If your son didn't leave a Will, which is likely given that he was a college student, you would ask the Court to appoint you as the Administrator of his estate, and the Clerk would issue you Letters of Administration. The primary difference between Executors and Administrators is that an Executor is specifically named in the deceased person's Will. If there is no Will you would serve as Administrator, but your duties are the same. If you are serving as Administrator you likely want to serve independently rather than dependently, which will require the Court to determine who your son's heirs are before you can receive your Letters of Administration. If your son was married or had children, they will need to be identified to the Court and be notified of the proceedings. If your son was unmarried and had no children his heirs would be his parents if both are still alive. If either parent predeceased your son, your son's siblings would inherit that deceased parent's share. Ultimately you need to meet with an attorney to start the process, and you cannot serve as the representative of the estate (executor or administrator) without being represented by an attorney. Hopefully this answers your question and gets you started in the right direction.
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