Using Probate to Improve Our Communities

Recently, Ellen Bennett and Brian Thomas were invited to speak to the Community Prosecutors from the Dallas City Attorney’s Office.  These attorneys are tasked with improving public safety and the quality of life in Dallas.  Many of their most challenging issues come from nuisance related problems, or hazardous properties that threaten the safety of our neighborhoods.  Perhaps surprisingly to some, probate issues come into play in their line of work as well.  Burdette & Rice took the opportunity to provide these public servants with a probate discussion designed to help them understand the applicable probate issues they sometimes confront.


In many neighborhoods, houses fall into disrepair and become eyesores or, sometimes, actual hazards to public safety.  Dallas Community Prosecutors work with Code Inspectors to identify these problematic properties, notify the owner of the problems and compel a responsive solution.  What happens, though, when the prosecutors learn that the property owner is deceased?  How can our communities prevent these properties from inviting crime or threatening the safety of our citizens?


For nearly two hours, our attorneys engaged in practical problem-solving aimed at educating the prosecutors on probate matters.  We believe that the City of Dallas and the neighborhoods themselves have a vested interest in taking the steps necessary to invoke the probate process.  Through the probate courts, the prosecutors can learn who the true owners of these problem-properties are, administer the estates to fix the problems and truly impact these neighborhoods.  Our firm is proud to lend a hand and share our knowledge of these matters with a group of attorneys dedicated to making our communities safer and more enjoyable.