Joseph E. Ashmore, Jr. was appointed Judge of Probate Court No. 3 in Dallas County, Texas, a position he held for 12 years. He sometimes gets the question, “What exactly does a probate judge do”? His daughter, Lori Ashmore Peters, explains the responsibilities of a probate judge.
A probate judge deals with administration of estates. What that means is when a person passes away, if they don’t have a Will, a probate judge will determine who controls the assets of the estate and who makes distributions. Then it is the state of Texas that decides when the assets are to be distributed.
A probate judge also deals with matters of guardianship. For example, if there is a person suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, it will be a probate judge that determines whether that person meets the definition to be ruled legally incapacitated.
It is only a probate judge that can:
- Declare someone legally incapacitated.
- Can determine what constitutional rights are taken away from an individual, for example, the right to vote and right to drive a car.
A probate judge also hears the difficult matter of end of life decisions. Only a probate judge can give the ruling to withdrawn life support.
During the probate process, it's important to have an experienced probate attorney working for you. Please contact our firm with any questions at 214.559.7202.