The Law Office of Melissa O’Neal P.C.

(979) 330-5122
Now serving Brazoria County.

The Law Office of Melissa O’Neal P.C.

(979) 330-5122
5361 South State Highway 37 Mineola, TX 75773
The Law Office of Melissa O’Neal P.C.

FAQs & Useful Information

How much will it cost?

This is not always an easy question for an attorney to answer and although I understand the importance of the question and the answer to the client, this is not something that in most cases can be answered without a complete understanding of the circumstances and situations.

You should never be intimidated to discuss attorney's fees or to negotiate fees with your attorney at the beginning of your representation. Having a clear understanding between you and your attorney on the issue of fees will assure a good working relationship between you and them. Don't hesitate to ask detailed questions and don't be embarrassed. A lawyer's willingness to discuss fees is an important indicator of how he or she treats a client. I do use my paralegal and secretary for routine matters and close supervision in order to save the client money when it is possible.

Do I really need a will?

I would never suggest that someone does not need a will. Everyone should probably have a will whether it will eventually be used or not. There are many strategies that might be used to avoid having to probate that will depending on a person's particular situation. If you would like to discuss the preparation of a will and other strategies that may be used to avoid the probate process, please contact me for a free consultation regarding your particular situation.

Do you have any more queries? Feel free to call the Law Office of Melissa O'Neal, P.C..

Q: My 12 year old has my maiden name but wants to change his last name to his dad’s last name. Can we do that?

A: Yes. You would need to file an "Original Petition for Change of Name of Child". It is a fairly straightforward and simple suit. The father is entitled to service on the suit because the child is a minor and would have to be served or waive service if he is in the picture and agreeable.

Q: What happens to the house when a spouse passes away without a will and their joint children and stepchildren involved? Husband and Wife marry and have a son, they divorce and both remarry and each have children. Then they get back together and remarry. Then the Wife dies without a Will. What happens to the home and other property involved?

A: If the wife did not have a will and the property is community property, the spouse has a life estate interest in the home and owns half of it. His community property half. The other half is owned by the biological or adopted children of the wife in equal parts. The husband should not be able to sell the property without all the children's signing off and receiving half of the proceeds.
But if the husband chooses to continue to live on the property he is responsible for maintaining the property and paying taxes and keeping insurance on the property. He is responsible to protect the beneficiaries (children's) interest in the property and if he does not the heirs can force him to do so with legal action. When he passes his half will go to whoever he leaves it to in a will, or if he also has no will, it will go to his biological or adopted children also in equal parts. Therefore, the children of both husband and wife will have a greater share than the children of only one of them. Unless there is an agreement among the children to do something different.
There is a probate procedure that can go through the court to determine who are the rightful heirs of the wife, even without a will. Heirship Proceedings. There is also a document that can be prepared and filed in the deed records that will not go through the court but puts potential buyers on notice of the heirs called an heirship affidavit. It is less effective but also less expensive than an heirship affidavit and is better if there are two of them prepared by someone with knowledge of the required facts but not an interested party.
You should seek the assistance of a probate attorney with your specific situation to determine the best course of action for your situation.