Probate: 469.708.6050

Wills & Guardianship: 214.227.6400

13355 Noel Rd., Ste. 1100

Dallas, Texas 75240

A Dallas Probate, Guardianships, and Estate Planning Attorney that actually worked for the Probate Court.

 

Dallas Probate Attorney Michael Duran is one of the few attorneys that has worked for a probate court judge. In fact, Michael's experience in probate, guardianship, and estate planning matters began when he served in the Dallas County Probate Court working directly for Judge Nikki DeShazo. Judge DeShazo is a nationally recognized authority on probate matters and is a past President of the National College of Probate Judges. While working for the Judge, Michael reviewed approximately 300 applications for probate and guardianship. While there, Michael also wrote the book, so to speak: he created a manual to instruct future court clerks on the process of reviewing the various probate applications. Later the Dallas Bar Association Probate, Trusts and Estates Section asked Michael to edit the 2015 and 2017 versions of the Section Probate Manual.

After completing his duties for Judge DeShazo, Michael formed the Duran Firm to exclusively serve probate, guardianship and estate planning clients. Since starting the Firm, Michael has been involved in over 1,600 cases related to these three areas of law. In addition to his private clients, Michael has been appointed by all three Dallas County Probate Courts to serve as an estate administrator, guardian of the person and/or estate, guardian ad litem for alleged incapacitated persons, attorney ad litem for alleged incapacitated persons, and attorney ad litem for unknown heirs. Michael considers it an honor that the courts trust him to administer difficult estates. Such cases also help him to become a better estate planner.

Effective June 1, 2018, Michael became Chair of the Probate Council. The Council is the leadership component of the Probate, Trusts and Estates Section of the Dallas Bar Association. The Council coordinates the activities of the Probate Section including monthly CLE, pro bono activities, and coordination between the Dallas Probate Courts and the attorneys. The Section consists of over 800 attorneys.

Philosophy

"You can pay me now, or pay me later." Remember those Fram oil filter commercials where the auto mechanic would explain to his customer that the customer can either pay a small sum now for the replacement of the oil and filter, or a far larger sum later for the replacement of the vehicle's engine? At the Duran Firm, we believe that a professionally prepared will is like that Fram oil filter. If a person incurred the up-front expense of having an attorney professionally prepare his or her Last Will and Testament, then the probate of his or her estate should be relatively straight-forward, and relatively inexpensive. People are often shocked when they call a probate lawyer to probate the will and the lawyer demands to be paid on an hourly basis and requests a $3,0000 retainer. The Duran Firm offers fixed-fee probate in uncontested cases where the Will was professionally drafted thus meeting certain state requirements. In fact, the overwhelming majority of our probate cases are for a fixed fee. A listing of our fees, including expected court costs, can be viewed on our Fees Page

"You never really know a person until you share an inheritance with them." Even the most harmonious of families can become contentious under the stress of trying to decide what Mom or Dad would have wanted. Times of great sadness and grief are not often conducive to clear decision making. The immediate retention of a probate attorney by the named or agreed-upon executor can help to minimize conflict within a family that is going through probate. The Duran Firm also handles the most complex probate situations, such as contested matters, matters where there is no will, or matters where there are defects with the will. Because there is no way to estimate how contentious or complex these matters will be, the Duran Firm charges an hourly rate in these types of matters. A schedule of our hourly rates can be viewed on our Fees Page

"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." The Duran Firm was founded on a belief that with prior planning, what is certain does not necessarily have to be difficult or expensive. Planning for the inevitable can provide peace of mind for you and security for your loved ones. Proper estate planning can minimize or eliminate estate taxes and significantly reduce the burdens of post-death estate administration or probate.

Education and Work Experience

United States Air Force Academy with honors, Bachelors of Science

University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Juris Doctorate

Captain, United States Air Force

Associate, Sherman & Howard, LLC; Denver, Colorado

Bar and Court Admissions

State Courts of Texas

State Courts of Colorado

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Associations and Activities

Dallas Bar Association, Member of the Probate, Trusts and Estates Council 2013-2019

State Bar of Texas

Areas of Practice

Fixed-Fee Probate

A Dallas probate attorney with extensive experience and reasonable fixed fees, Michael Duran has helped over 1,600 clients with their uncontested probate and guardianship matters. We believe that our rates are fair, particularly when you consider the fact that Michael has been practicing probate for almost 15 years and is regularly appointed by all three Dallas County Probate Courts to administer the estates of persons when there is no one else that is qualified to do so.

Contested Probate

Many times, sharing an inheritance can be just as bitter as a divorce. The decedent may not have left a will designating an executor to administer the estate. Even worse, the person designated to serve as the executor may be an extremely poor choice for such an important job. In this situation, you need a Dallas probate attorney that can assist you in contesting the appointment of an unqualified person to serve as the executor of the estate. The Duran Firm can also assists clients in holding a previously appointed executor to his or her fiduciary duties, and if necessary, can assist in having the executor removed by the Court.

Did the decedent leave a will? YES / NO

Willing Good: Goal-Driven Estate Planning

If you are researching drafting a will or estate plan, then you are probably a responsible, goal-driven person. Your Will, as part of a comprehensive estate plan, is your last chance to do something good for your family. Hence the term, "Willing Good." A person should have a Will that eliminates any questions as to who should inherit and control the estate after death. What if, however, you could go beyond that and draft a Will that helps you or your heirs achieve goals after you are gone? That's what goal-driven planning is about.

More information on goal-driven estate planning can be found on our estate planning page.

Guardianship

Sadly seniors are frequently self-neglectful and targets of exploitation. As we age, dementia and other mental disabilities take away our executive functioning. We lose the ability to manage our financial affairs, and in severe cases, even manage our self-care. Perpetrators, often family members, are quick to move in and exploit the situation. They gain control over the senior and start isolating him or her from family. Guardianship is a powerful tool that can address situations such as this. Guardianship is the process whereby a court determines that an adult is unable to take care of his or her personal and financial needs and appoints a person to assume control for the protection of the protected person. Dallas Probate Attorney Michael Duran has extensive experience in obtaining guardianship and in the administration of a guardianship.

More information on guardianship can be found on our guardianship page.

Coverage Area

Duran Firm coverage area

Though Michael Duran is a Dallas probate attorney, we actually practice probate in the following counties in the Dallas / Fort Worth / North Texas area:

Bosque Fannin Johnson Rockwall
Collin Grayson Kaufman Somervell
Cooke Henderson Montague Tarrant
Dallas Hill Navarro Van Zandt
Denton Hood Parker Wise
Ellis Hunt Rains