Houston Probate Lawyer

Sadly, far too many people fail to consider hiring a probate attorney before a family member or loved one has passed. By the time this happens, people are then stuck trying to mourn the loss of a loved one and simultaneously shop for a decent probate attorney that will represent their best interests.

This area of law can be volatile and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Estate planning, probate and guardianship are all areas that should be handled compassionately and to letter of the law, so as to avoid any complications in the future. It is important that this type of documentation fulfills all legal requirements and is executed properly for speed and efficiency. The Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., has been successfully handling probate matters in Texas for over three decades. We also handle litigation and disputes over matters such as wills, trusts, guardianships and other such matters.

Why do I need a probate attorney?

Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone passes. It typically involves validating the will in a court of law, taking an inventory of the decedent’s property, having it appraised, paying debts, and distributing the remaining property. Without the proper paperwork it can be a lengthy process. When probating a will, you are actually representing anotherperson or entity, such as the estate itself, in a judicial proceeding. In the state of Texas, only a licensed attorney can represent another party in a court of law. The probate process typically involves paperwork and a series of court appearances by an attorney. The Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., will handle all of your legal probate matters so that your family has time to grieve properly.

Does all property have to go through probate?

The laws of probate are different in every state. However, the answer to that question is usually no. For instance, in the state of Texas if there is no will and the value of the probate estate is $50,000 or less, then those inheriting the property can usually do so through a simple affidavit. Additionally, simplified procedures can also be used if the value of the decedent’s property does not exceed what is needed to pay creditors and the family allowance expenses.

How long does the probate process take?

There is no one right answer to this question. The probate process can be intimidating to those who have never been through it. There are many elements that will affect the length of the probate process, such as the size of the decedent’s estate and whether or not they had prepared a last will and testament. The simplest cases can be probated in as little as a several weeks while more complex cases may take several months or more. An experienced probate attorney knows how to speed up the process while keeping the client’s best interest in mind.

How long do I have to file for probate?

Each state has their own laws of compliance that govern the probate process. In the state of Texas, the executor has four years from the date of the decedent’s death to file for probate.

Who typically handles the probate process?

This question, also, does not have only one answer. The first choice for handling probate is the executor named in the last will and testament. If the will does not name an executor, or there is no will in place, then the court will appoint an administrator to handle the process. When the court appoints an administrator, it is usually the closest capable relative to the decedent.

Does the court distribute property after the probate process?

No, the court does not distribute property. After the probate process is completed and all debts have been paid, the executor or administrator will usually distribute any remaining property.

What if I want to contest a will?

If you think you may want to contest a will, you should seek legal counsel. The Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., can advise you of your rights and offer council, insight, and options in this area. In the state of Texas, you can contest a will any time after it has been offered to the court for verification and up to two years after it has been probated.

What information does an attorney need for probate?

Simply put, he needs all of it. The first thing an attorney needs to see is the original last will and testament and a certified death certificate. This is a great start. Eventually the attorney will also need a list of all assets owned by the decedent and their values as of the date of death.

This includes but is not limited to insurance policies, IRAs, investments, and bank accounts. If the decedent owned property, whether alone or as a partnership with someone else, the attorney will need to know about that as well to determine if it will be subject to estate tax. It is important that this inventory is a detailed and correct account of the assets because it will be filed with the probate court.

Houston Probate Attorney

What if my loved one didn’t have a last will and testament?

Many times the action taken will depend on the size and complexity of the estate. Sometimes a full court procedure is necessary and other times a less complicated approach can be used. Call the Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., to help guide you through this difficult time.

Contact an experienced, assertive probate attorney today

If you have recently lost a loved one or you want to plan for your own estate, contact the Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C. today. We will take the time to counsel you through this delicate time and help you proceed efficiently in your best interest. Call (713) 271-5760 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with a tenacious probate attorney that has the fortitude to handle your case assertively.

The Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., will advise you of all your options and stay involved in every step of the probate process. Our law firm represent individuals in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas.


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About Joseph Onwuteaka

Admission Details

  • Admitted in 1986, Texas
  • Texas Southern District/Bankruptcy Court
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • US Tax Court


  • English
  • Spanish

University Attended

  • Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University, Class of 1981 B.Sc.
  • Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University, Class of 1983 M.B.A.

Law School Attended

  • Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Class of 1986 J.D. cum laude

Associations & Memberships

  • State Bar of Texas
  • American Bar Association
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Association of Attorneys and C.P.A.'s.
  • Elite Lawyers of America

Credentials Of The Firm


Client Testimonials

Attorney Joseph Onwuteaka has represented my family is the legal arena since 1988. My first representation was in a divorce case w/ child support. Child support was awarded, however, we appealed because amount was too low. From that point until today, Mr. Onwuteaka has been retained as the family lawyer. Joseph is very passionate about his legal services and for the most part has been very pro-bono when it comes to our faith in ,him as a lawyer. I can't imagine not having him as a lawyer. My most recent case was delinquent property taxes. Each and overtime I have complete faith that I've received the best representation available. Mr. Onwuteaka will be the only attorney to represent me and my family for life!
- Gaynell McAfee