We live in Texas. Her Will is in probate now. My brother is executor. Can I bill her estate for the 2 years of home care I provided? She past about 1 1\2 years ago.

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Barnes, well to me the simplest would be to call PC in whichever County that her probate would be in. Your city is in 2 counties, right? Look at what her last address would likely have been and try to call PC office at the CH. Seems to be a crap shoot as to CH being open in TX. If county is quite large, there will be more than 1 PC court & judge. Call them all.

if no phone response - could happen as the summer tax appraisal hearings have shut down the “in person“ option, so CH cpukd also still be shut down -then you go to plan B and send an email to both PC courts in both counties with details on mom (like SS#, her old address, DOB, DOD and who you are... like you’re a creditor and family) asking if her docket is located in thier court and if & when a NOC appeared in a newspaper or other publication. The CH staff, especially the PC ones, really are quite knowledgeable and helpful but you have to give them the basic info so they can look within thier system to see what’s what.

to me, the NOC is the central item in all this.

if the NOC was done before this summer, then in my not an atty but been executor opinion, you are outside of the window to file a claim. It’s too too late, sorry about that. Claims are timebarred within 60-90 days once the NOC is properly done; except for Executor & administration’s costs.

The details on the NOC will be denoted by date in the overall docket of her probate #. Usually NOC done by probate atty as they have online portals to the CH (for easy filings) and they also have online portals to the various newspapers or journals or Other publications that are ok to run NOC for your county. The probate guys really don’t set foot in the CH for most of the items related to probate..... it’s online via their State of TX bar # and atty of record # for the county.

so find out what’s what on which PC court and NOC status, and post an update, ok?!? Several on this site have filed claims & can give you our insight.

On your other ?, claims can be submitted to PC directly. & that claim once filed is passed to the atty by CH staff via the attys online portal. Every CH I’ve been to in TX has a separate office for filing claims for PC..... usually in the basement of the CH. They all have like last millennium furnishings and lighting, lol. Take small bills cash and some change. If you file & pay via check, it has to clear before it can be processed; CC add a hefty service fee. Cash is king and you get a nice time dated receipt with the docket # on it too. For a few $ more you can pay for a current docket report, personally I’d get one as it has all the filing data so you can kinda see if things are getting done in some semblance of order.
or can be submitted to the probate atty.
or submitted to Executor.
if you do it this way, I’d mail it certified mail with return receipt card.

If you do it at the CH you know it was filed and have your very own receipt to prove it was filed and when. Doing it this way means it cannot be ignored, comprende? Good luck!
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igloo572 Aug 2020
also imho if the TX NOC was published over 90 days ago, filing a claim imho a waste of energy. It would likely be that you would need to challenge the actions of the Executor to get all their actions to be reviewed or change the administration. Not something to DIY. You need probate any who does litigation & that’s not what most probate guys ever do. The ones that do are specialists and kind like really good divorce attys as it’s a much pitbully personality with forensic accountants on their staff. They will require a retainer upfront without any guarantee. I’d guess 8-10k as a base fee to start. There’s apt to be a handful of litigation ones. If it had to find one, I’d do it 2 ways: look at the filings at your PC and see what names come up as atty of record; & search via Martindale. The names that come up on both lists are who I’d call for an initial appointment.
No. You cannot. You can be paid by the other family members, or by your Mom's estate while you care for her in-home, but that should be done by contract, and reported as income to the IRS. If, after the Executor distributes the estate per the dictates of the will, other family members choose to recognize the care you provided, they are free to gift you some of the inheritance. I am not certain of the legal repercussions of that, as gifts of money over a certain amount has tax consequences.
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Is there a specific reason that you didn’t set up a contract or get paid anything while doing the caregiving and now want to collect? I’m just wondering if it’s about saving inheritance tax or something like that so the POA would be supportive of the idea or if it’s more that you feel like the time you put in caregiving isn’t being recognized by your brother? I only ask because I think the answer will make a difference in how or if it’s worth pursuing if it is indeed still possible legally.
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Just where in the probate action system is her estate?

TX allows 4 years from date of death to open probate; so her will has been filed to probate court for your county if your Bro is actually named executor and given Letters Testamentary. The next factor is just what type of administration (Dependent or Independent) is estate run under.

Once it’s filed and LT issued, there is a numbered docket for the estate in probate court. There will be sequential actions that must be done.
For your situation - which in my not an atty but been a executor x3 opinion - if you want to file a claim (debt) against the estate for your caregiving, it has to be done within the “window” of roughly 60 - 90 days after the Atty or Executor has filed a NOC (Notice to Creditors) and had the Notice appear in a newspaper of record for the county. If she owned property in other counties, the NOC has to run in those papers as well. You have to get your claim in within the window or it’s time barred. Should you do it after the window is over, Executor can basically ignore the filing if it’s independent administration; dependent get review by PC in some way before it too likely gets timebarred.
So has NOC been done?

If you get it in while window open, the claim gets looked at for being correctly filed (there’s a format, most PC have the info online for those who DIY this), looked at as to whether it’s securitized or not and what class. Texas is a Level of Claim by Class system for probate. Unless you have a notarized Agreement or Memo of understanding from before she died, I’ll guess that your filing would be a class 7 or 8 claim. So all Class 1-6 get paid ahead of yours. Unless there's real $ in the estate, your not getting paid. If she had credit cards or property, the CCs, utilities, phone co, tax assessor, etc. will all file their class 7, 8 claims. They have existing law firms who look for NOCs & do claims routinely & have runners who file dozens of claims at PC intake desk (usually in the basement of the courthouse). Your claim get pooled with all these & y’all are all unsecured lower level claims.

If you are a heir, you have to get a letter notifying you of your “standing” in the filed & # docketed Estate. There’s a couple of exemptions to this rule, like if executor is heir or heirs are as per Testamentary Trust, but for regular kids as heirs, you get a letter. Having standing does not necessarily mean you are getting $ or assets but more that you are named in the valid will as a heir & having standing means you can challenge actions or request an in-chambers meeting.

PC is pretty much all open records, you can use the docket # and pay for a download of all the documents submitted to the court to see what’s happening. If you have issues with what Executor is doing, if you have standing, can hire your own probate atty that does litigation to challenge actions.

So just what is probate status?
if over a year since opening, NOC window is closed. Just too late imo.
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Cbarnes Aug 2020
Thank you Igloo
I believe that really helps.
Probate was just filled this year.
I wasn't going to claim my services but issues have come up where I feel it's best I do this.
Should I just file with the court or should I send a bill only to the executor?
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Unless you had a written agreement signed by your mother or the POA, I doubt the estate is obligated to pay.  If your brother is the only other beneficiary, he may be gracious and pay, but if more beneficiaries, it may be difficult.
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igloo572 Aug 2020
My experience is even IF there’s a written agreement, they have to file a claim with the agreement attached to get consideration to get paid. It’s only been a securitized debt with real property as collateral in my experience that did not need to file a claim. Like mortgage that somehow didn’t find out owner had died.... they get paid off at the Act of Sale with no claim filed to probate.

The mom would have had to specifically placed a $ amount or a % of ownership to the caregiver heir in the will for executor brother to pay her a higher share of the estate. The terms in the will are pretty absolute..... so if it was 4 kids as heirs $ gets split 25% no matter if 3 of them did zero for the mom since forever. If the 3 want to decline their inheritance so caregiver kid gets 100% they can do this. Lots of luck on that ever happening.

The court is going to want a match up for a payment to a claim to approved a distribution.
Now the Executor If it’s an independent administration, in my experience, has some wiggle room to pay for things without a claim being filed but it’s going to be like property taxes / mortgage/ insurance / maintenance paid for to safeguard assets or pay for CPA or atty costs or notary / xeroxing costs while estate is in probate. Executor then files a estate management claim for all this if they paid for it maybe every 6 mos or annually. But paying without a Claim, well the heirs can challenge it. If it’s a dependent administration, there has to be a claim filed as it gets court reviewed.
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You can try.
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