So, do you have to hire an attorney to navigate the probate court process in Texas? Most of the time, yes.
Texas courts usually require an executor to be represented by an attorney in a probate matter because an executor not only represents himself, but also the interests of beneficiaries and creditors. Texas law only allows a licensed attorney to represent the interests of others, therefore, preparing and filing pleadings in a probate matter without the assistance of counsel would constitute the unauthorized practice of law. Although courts allow limited exceptions to this rule, the result is that executors in Texas almost always have to hire an attorney to navigate the probate process.
The following is an example from the Denton County Probate Court’s Local Rules, explaining that the court does NOT allow individuals to represent themselves (also called “Pro Se”) in probate matters before the court:
Justin T. Crain is an estate planning attorney in the Plano, Texas office of Thomas Walters Estate Planning where he provides legal services including Wills, Trusts, Gun Trusts, Guardianship Administration, Probate, Estate Administration, Medicaid Planning and Nursing Home Planning to those in the surrounding areas of North Texas.