What You Should Know About Probate

Put Family First

Take time to fully grieve the death of your loved one. The probate process can wait. Take the time to connect or re-connect with family members. If you are the executor, ask your family if they understand that you need to grieve a bit before starting the process. There may be a family member who really needs an inheritance that could be coming. Possibly you or someone else could lend them enough to tide them over until the process has finished. Communicating is the key to keeping the rest of your family intact.

Look for Paperwork to Locate the Will

After the funeral, if you haven’t already done so, you will need to search for a copy of the will. Hopefully, your loved one has one as it will make the process easier. A person who dies leaving a valid will is legally known as “testate,” while a person who does not create a valid will is known as “intestate.” The will designates the executor of the estate. Without a will, the next of kin will be appointed.

It is important to note that access to accounts and transactions of the property will be limited to information only. This is in effect until the executor or administrator is designated by the court.

You may want to have the decedent’s mail forwarded by the US Postal Service for collection and organization by the executor.  Monthly statements received will help identify the financial assets and liabilities of the estate.  Cash and personal property of the decedent should be safeguarded for now.  Begin keeping a journal and inventorying valuables.

Find Property Titles

If the deceased owned property having the title in hand will make the executor’s job easier. If you cannot find the paperwork call our office. We can help you locate the deed. Even though the property cannot be sold yet this may be a good time to contact realtors in your area who may be able to help when the time comes.

Death Certificate

Once you have the death certificate you will be able to move forward with the probate process. This is a formal process and the advice of a probate attorney is recommended.  Each estate is unique and there is a host of moving parts that will need to be addressed.

Petition For Probate

The petition for probate is normally filed in the probate court within the county in which the decedent resided.   Now the process has begun. Once filed it will be about 30 to 45 days before the hearing. This is to allow time for all persons, including creditors who have an interest in the estate to be notified.

Estate Sale

While this process does not need to be presided over by the courts it is the responsibility of the executor to distribute items among family members or close friends. The remainder may be sold at an auction or estate sales. The proceeds will be divided evenly among the heirs.

Being the Executor

The executor of the estate is a fiduciary obligation that requires diligence, responsibility, and accountability.   The person with this task should keep good records and act in a timely fashion.  Many a family strife has happened due to poor accounting and unnecessary delays.  And a well-meaning executor can be held personally liable for errors or omissions in administering an estate. Therefore, a responsible executor will seek the advice and assistance of qualified professionals.

Contact the Hilbun Law Firm for help with probate. 281-955-9292 

Are You Proud To Be A Texan?


Whether you were born in the Lone Star State or you “got here as fast as you could” 😊, being a Texan instills a sense of pride you will not find anywhere else.

February 1st has been designated National Texas Day. And for Texans, every day should be celebrated. The Lone Star State was the 28th state to join the union. But it is their dramatic revolution and fight for independence that has kept Texas history alive.

Children growing up in Texas are very familiar with names from long ago.  Texas heroes like James Bowie, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and Juan Seguin are well known. Likewise, stories of the ruthless dictator Santa Anna are well documented.

If you have never toured the Alamo in San Antonio you will want to add it to your “places to visit soon” list. While this is a popular tourist attraction for those in the Houston area there is another that you must visit. The San Jacinto Monument is a mere 20 minutes from downtown Houston.

15 Feet Taller Than the Washington Monument

“In future time, then may the pilgrim’s eye see here an obelisk point toward the sky….”
— Anonymous poet

The above prediction was penned in the poem: “Ode to San Jacinto”, even before the Republic of Texas became the State of Texas.  Visitors can tour the monument that honors all those who fought for Texas’s independence.  At 570 feet, it is one of the finest examples of Moderne (Art Deco) architecture in the United States. The monument has been recognized as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

View the San Jacinto Battleground Where Texas Gained Independence From Mexico

It is here that Sam Houston led the troops on Santa Anna’s army. Over 600 Mexican soldiers were killed while more than 700 were allowed to surrender. Only nine Texians were killed or mortally wounded.

Geography as Diverse as The People Who Live Here

Texas is the largest state in the continental US. It is 2nd only to Alaska. Texas is 790 miles long and 660 miles wide at its most distant points.  But the diversity of the geography sets it apart. From the Gulf Coast to the Hill Country to the Plains to the deserts. The state has ten climatic regions and 11 different ecological regions.

Whether you are looking for beaches, lakes, rivers or deserts or even mountains you can find it in Texas. Yes, even mountains. 😊 There is not a lot and you will not find heavily forested mountains like in Colorado but the Guadalupe Mountains boast a height of 8749 feet. And they have a beauty all their own.

New To Texas- It May Be Smart To Write a New Will

While your out of state will, may indeed be valid in Texas, you may want to consider a new will. Why? Texas may offer a few “extras” that your will doesn’t have. First, Texas offers Independent Probate. However, if the right language is not in your will the Court may not allow you to proceed independently. Secondly, your Will may not have the Texas form of a ‘Self-Proving Affidavit’. This could cause a host of headaches for your family when you are gone.

Contact Elizabeth Hilbun at The Hilbun Law Firm and protect your family today. Call  281-955-9292

Alternative Treatments for Pain Relief in People Over 60


As we age, we find new and often, different places that hurt. We also find ourselves with chronic pain, other diseases, and bodies that no longer work the same.

Due to other ailments and certain conditions, pain medication may not be the best option. Finding alternative methods of pain management is becoming more mainstream now.

There are plenty of safer and effective ways of managing pain. Let’s take a closer look at alternative pain relief.


Types of Pain

senior Pain Relief Alternatives

People over 60 years of age start to discover areas that hurt. These can be for a variety of reasons. We may find ourselves with a new pain in our shoulders, backs, and arms. Our hips may start to hurt and our legs may not work the same.

Arthritis is common among older people and causes pain in their joints. This can be knees, knuckles, wrists, and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and can cause pain, stiffness and swollen joints.

Other types of pain can stem from people slowing down in their activity. Less movement or exercise can mean stiffening joints. Lower back, neck, carpal tunnel and leg pain can all be present.


Alternative Pain Relief

Taking pain medication can cause problems for people, especially those with chronic pain. It can interfere with other medications and it can cause damage to the liver and other organs. Some pain medication can also become habit-forming. Thankfully, finding alternatives is more popular than ever.



senior pain relief


This method of treating all types of illnesses goes back for centuries. It may seem bizarre but it has proven to be effective for anything from headaches to hysteria. In fact, most people report that this is one of the most relaxing treatments they have ever experienced. In Houston, a lot of people find relief from seasonal allergies with acupuncture.


Senior Pain relief

No one expects you to run a marathon, but regular exercise will help ease your pain. Walking, yoga, bike riding, team sports, and swimming are ideal for getting you moving.

Increasing the blood flow, exercise also releases endorphins which are natural pain relievers in our body. Plus, moving will make your muscles more pliable and ease the strain you may be experiencing.



senior pain relief with massageAllowing yourself to just relax and let go is a luxury. Having a massage can give you that release while someone works your tired muscles. It works on the pain you feel in your body but releases the mind and the tension in your body.


A quiet room with low lights and pleasant aromas can work wonders for your aches and pains. You feel great for a long time afterward. It stimulates muscles that may not be used much any longer.


Reiki is another type of treatment meant for energy healing. The hands are just above or lightly placed on the body. The healing energy moves from the palms of the practitioner to the patient. The idea to help the body find that balance again. This will allow the healing process to take place.


meditation for senior pain relief

Meditation is really a form of relaxation. It can allow you to let go of everything and just float. Clearing your mind and just letting your body sink into the floor can have a great effect on pain.


Marijuana or its non-psychoactive by-products, such as CBD oils are making headway. More and more places are legalizing marijuana and people are using it to treat all sorts of ailments.

Pain is one area people are using CBD oils. Taken can be orally or used as a topical and applied directly to the pain. This is another natural pain reliever that has been used for centuries.

There are also other marijuana products you can use, such as edibles and sprays. These will vary depending on where you live. These have been used for nausea during chemo to chronic migraines or back pain.


senior pain relief with diet

What you are eating can have a major effect on your pain. Some foods can cause inflammation and irritate certain problem areas you may be trying to ease.

Any foods that have antioxidants will help. These include


  • Blueberries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Kale
  • Artichokes
  • Strawberries


Also, include high protein foods that are low in fat. Whole grains like wheat germ and oatmeal. Soybeans are high in protein and can slow inflammation. Turmeric, cold-water fish, Vitamin D, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

It’s important to eat a balanced diet and avoid highly processed foods. Avoid sugars and sodium. You want natural foods that will pass through the body and not leave a lot of fat and chemicals behind.


Find Your Alternative

Music therapy, art, and gardening can also bring a lot of joy and keep you active. Finding your own way through the pain may take some trial and error. You could try several different methods and find what works best for you.


Always check with your healthcare provider before trying anything new. There are more and more alternatives for pain relief every day. Try a few and maybe you can combine a few different methods to manage all your pain. It can’t hurt.

Getting your affairs in order can also reduce stress. This, in turn, may turn off some of your pain.

Talk to Elizabeth Hilbun and her team about your wills and other documents you may need.










Unplanned retirement

4 Tips to Adjust to Unplanned Retirement



Roughly 40% of adults end up retiring earlier than they had planned. For some, their company is downsizing and has laid them off. For others, health issues may be to blame. Additionally, for many people caregiving duties for an aging parent may cause them to leave the workforce much earlier than expected.  Regardless of what causes your retirement, an unplanned retirement can through anyone off balance.

Grief Will Be Part of This Journey

And all the emotions that come with grief can be expected. An unplanned retirement is a loss. The person going through this period has lost not only income but a sense of purpose. Most likely you will feel angry, sad, frustrated or depressed at times. It is important to understand that this is normal. Accept the fact that you are grieving. The following tips can help you to step into this new phase of your life and create a new normal.

Create Structure In Your Day

When Paul was forced out of the company he had been with for 37 years he was lost. Though financially, he and his wife were in a good place Paul did not know what to do with his days.

“He started trying to take over at home” Margret complained. “I have been running this household for years but now he thinks he can do better!” Margaret was frustrated. This change was hard for both of them. “He just needs to do something!” she cried. “I can’t have him underfoot all day long.”


fit senior man exercising at the beach in the morning

Finally, Paul started taking the dog for a walk every morning. It got him up and moving. And he met some neighbors who were also newly retired. Eventually, Paul found a part-time job. It was enough to give him some structure and a sense of purpose.

Set Goals

Chances are you had a lot of plans for your eventual retirement. If you were not financially ready to retire now you may need to look at how you can rejoin the workplace. It may not be easy finding another job, but it is also not impossible. You might consider consulting. If you have been in a particular industry for a long time, consulting might be a good way to go. Sit down with a financial advisor and consider also talking to a career coach to discover options you may not have thought about.

And if finances are not a problem then start setting other goals. What have you always wanted to do?  Do you want to travel? Where? Start planning some trips. Maybe there is a hobby you have always wanted to take up. Research that hobby and find people in your area who are involved in it.  Perhaps there is a club you can join.

Health is often a big reason for unplanned retirement. Set goals to get your health back. What do you need to do? Join a gym if it is appropriate for your situation. The local YMCA has a lot of programs specifically for seniors. Consider joining one today.

Get Together with Friends- And Make New Friends


Group of laughing seniors in a coffeehouse

If your friends are all still working, you may find that you need to have a few retired friends also. Having a strong friendship base is important. The last thing you want to do is to become isolated. Check out Meet-Up groups in your area. If you don’t already belong to one join a local church. Find one that has an active senior group. Get involved. Don’t just show up once a week. Participate and be of service.


Giving back to others in your community can give you that sense of purpose that may be missing in your life. Use the talents you have to help an organization you care about. Your life will be richer for it. The Living Legacy Center is always looking for people to help.



Don’t Call Me A Senior Citizen!

This seems to be a big issue with a lot of boomers. Let’s face it with many boomers (currently age 55 to 73) continuing to work far into their 70’s and beyond, aging has taken on a new persona.

And there is a lot of debate around the proper term to use.

Do you call someone of a certain age an older person, elderly, mature or what?? And at what age do you use this term? Surveys have shown that most Boomers don’t mind being called a boomer. But not a Baby Boomer. And using the term elderly or senior citizen is definitely taboo.

The image that these names create is of someone who is frail and declining mentally and physically. And that is not how most Boomers describe themselves.

Retired at 55? Not Hardly!

Your grandparents may have retired at 55 but that is certainly not the case today. The workforce is filled with people in their 60’s and 70’s. In fact, many Boomers are starting businesses in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. While some may be working longer because they have to financially, others simply love to create.

Forbes recently noted that entrepreneurs over age 50 make up more than half of America’s small business owners. And another 17% are 60 to 69 years old. Finally, an additional 4% are 70 or older. These Boomers are engaged in their community.

CEO’s and Small Business Owners

Your grandma may have belonged to the garden club or something similar. But today’s Boomer grandmas are also CEO’s and small business owners. Many started a new career in a field they are passionate about.  In fact, about 42% have decided to open a business because they have a passion. The Home Care and Assisted Living industry is filled with Boomer startups. Furthermore, Texas is one of the top 5 states these small business owners reside in.

And these business owners rate their happiness levels high. On a scale of 1 to 10 76% said they were at level 8. And this is because 2/3 of them have a profitable business.

On top of this, Boomers are staying more active than their parents did at their age. Probably because they are still surrounded by younger people in the workplace. And the ones who have retired (another word we don’t like ☹) are spending a lot of time volunteering and traveling. This is an active and vibrant group of people. To call them senior citizens just doesn’t seem appropriate. And to some, it is downright derogatory!

It’s high time we got rid of the negative stigma that is associated with aging. There are 80-year-olds who are in better physical shape than 40-year-olds. It has nothing to do with age!


Over 50?- 3 Ways to Reduce Chronic Pain Without Medication


Let’s face it when you were younger your body was a lot more forgiving. You could eat poorly, drink too much and party all night and then get up and go to work. But somewhere along the way, your body began to rebel.

Chronic Pain is One of The Most Common Complaints of Older Folks

For some people, it may have been an accident that has caused the chronic pain they are experiencing. Autoimmune diseases like Lupus, fibromyalgia, arthritis and other diseases can also be the culprit. And for many, it is just a lifetime of poor lifestyle choices.

Acute Pain and Chronic Pain Are Two Different Experiences

Everyone has experienced pain at some point. Maybe it was a finger that got sliced when chopping vegetables. Or perhaps you broke your arm playing sports. But acute pain goes away after a period of time. Chronic pain is often there day in and day out. The pain will often vary in intensity from mild to excruciating. And we are often willing to do anything to stop the pain.

Opioids Provide a Solution. But at What Cost?

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2015, 20,101 prescription-related overdose deaths were recorded from the use of opioids. And there are stories on the news daily of the opioid crisis we are facing as a nation. While there may be a time and a place where these drugs are the best option for trying some of these alternatives for your chronic pain may be a good idea.

Tackling chronic pain usually means using several different approaches.  And it is important that you give it enough time.

“I had chronic pain for years due to Lyme Disease. I tried just about everything short of pharmaceuticals. I just was afraid of addiction, so I refused to use them. I used all of the techniques listed in this article and more. I cannot say that one thing was what finally relieved my pain. I think it was a combination of these lifestyle changes” Kathryn

Massage Therapy

There are many different types of massage techniques. And some may work better for your type of pain than others. Look for a therapist who has been doing this for several years. You also want to find one who is intuitive rather than technique-driven. It is important that the therapist understands how to really “listen” to your body and change her technique accordingly.

If you have a spouse or someone living with you consider trading massage. You may not be a professional, but all touch can be healing.

“Jim and I massage each other for about 15 minutes each night while watching TV. I sit in front of his chair so he can work on my neck and shoulder. This is where I have chronic pain. While he works on me I give him a foot massage.  We both enjoy this arrangement. And I think we sleep better also.” ~ Sarah


Pain can sometimes cause us to get into a negative loop cycle. The more we focus on the pain the more we seem to have pain. Meditation can help to relax your muscles. This will release some of the tension that has built up in your body. With time you may also be able to get out of that negative pain loop. Try a 15-minute meditation 2 or 3 times a day for the next 30 days. I think you will notice some positive changes. There are a lot of apps you can get on your phone that will give you guided meditations. This is a good way to begin.


Identify Your Pain Triggers


Exhausted man holding coffee and sleeping on his laptop on his desk in a white background

Become aware of what seems to make your chronic pain flare-up.  Is it when you go out in the cold? Is it when you are around a certain person or group of people? Maybe when you eat certain foods or consume alcohol. Maybe you are ready for a career change?  Both physical and emotional stress can activate the pain you experience. By paying attention to your body and how it is reacting you may be able to make some small changes that have a huge impact on how you feel.


This is just a start on your journey. Other options to help relieve your pain include yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, chiropractic, changing your diet, breathing exercises, exercise, journaling, laughter yoga, heart math, and many others. Try adding in two or 3 of these ideas and stay with it for at least 30 days. Track your progress and see what will work for you.

Chronic pain can make you feel out of control.  But planning for your future can help you to feel more in control. Visit Hilbun Law Firm to make sure you have all your documents in place.

retirement- freedom

The Secret To Aging Gracefully


Getting older is a given. Nobody can avoid it. But there are some people who age with Grace. These people don’t necessarily skate through life unscathed. That have their health challenges just like everybody else. But they don’t get stuck there and I think that’s the difference. So what is the secret to aging gracefully?


Bring Joy! Find A Purpose!

Seniors who are aging gracefully have learned a valuable lesson. These people have learned how to bring joy into their life. No matter what the situation. They found a way to stay joyful and happy. Having a purpose has made all of the difference.


 The Nursing Home Roommates


Have you heard the story of the two men in the nursing home.? The first man had a bed by the window. The second man was away from the window and couldn’t lift his head to see outside. He longed desperately for what he didn’t have. So, the man by the window told him every day, what he saw outside. He talked about the birds, And the trees blowing in the wind. He described sunrises and sunsets. Additionally, he even described people on the street walking by and children playing. He talked about little boys playing marbles.  And about liked girls jumping rope. He painted a vivid picture for his roommate to bring joy.


And It Felt “As If” He Was Right There


The men laughed as they remembered their own childhoods and the things that they did. And they both felt joy and peace.


The Time Has Come


One day The Man by the window passed away. And the other man immediately asked if could he have his bed. He wanted to be close to the window.  A new person might not describe in detail what was going on. And the old man wanted to continue to see the world.


A Brick Wall


But when he got there all he saw was a brick wall. The man was confused. Why would his friend make up such stories? There’s nothing but a brick wall. The nurse came in hearing that the man was terribly distraught. Your roommate was blind she told him. He couldn’t see a thing. But he knew how important it was for you. So, he made up these stories.


But the Blind Man Could See


Just not with his eyes. He saw With This Heart. And it brought him joy to bring someone else Joy. He could see more clearly than anyone.


Finding a way to bring joy to others will bring joy to your heart as well. It’s one of the best ways to age gracefully.


Struggling With Retirement


How do you handle it when your retirement has not been planned? A job layoff or a health condition may have caused your life to change quickly. For many people, this can be a real challenge. Staying positive and joyful may not seem possible.

John had a life-altering event at age 63. He had a stroke. It cost him his business. As a self- employed person his business failed when his health failed him. He had planned to work until 70 at least. He could have easily fallen into depression and given up. But he had a wife and children who counted on him. In fact, he still had a teenage son at home.

So, John picked up the pieces. And he spoke to his son about hard times that everyone goes through. He soon found part-time work that he and his wife could do together. His son got a job and life went on. And, he went out of his way to help others with encouragement.


Everyone Needs A Purpose


The blind man next to the window had a purpose. And that was in helping his roommate. By describing scenes that he visualized in his head he helped both himself and his roommate. Days became more enjoyable for both men.


How Can You Find A Purpose?


Opportunities abound in the Cypress and Tomball Texas area. There are many organizations that look for volunteers to help. A new one in the Cypress Texas area is the Living Legacy Center. Founded by Elizabeth Hilbun and Teresa Trull with The Hilbun Law Firm this organization is dedicated to helping people in the Cypress Texas area. With a focus on serving veterans and seniors, the organization has recently launched its Oasis Garden.


What do you enjoy doing? How can you give back and find your purpose?