Melissa O'Neal

Melissa O'Neal

Genuine service, genuine individual
  • Arbitration & Mediation, Estate Planning, Family Law ...
  • Texas
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A

I was born and raised in Northeast Texas and after graduating from East Texas State University in 1996, I worked as a paralegal for Foley & Coley until December of 2000 when I relocated to Houston to attend South Texas College of Law. While in law school, I worked full time for Crain, Caton & James, a large law firm in downtown Houston. In December of 2005, I graduated from South Texas College of Law and passed the Texas Bar in February 2006. I was licensed to practice law by May of 2006.

I had a successfully practice in East Texas until April 2023 when God led me to be closer to my children and moved me to Gods country and my forever home in West Columbia, Brazoria County Texas.

I practice in the areas of guardianship, probate and family law. I am also a licensed mediator. I would love to get to know your story and assist you with any needs you may have in these areas.

South Texas College of Law
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Professional Experience
Law Offices of Melissa O'Neal, P. C.
- Current
Successful practice in Family Law, Guardianship, Probate and Estate Planning in Wood County Texas until May 2023 when I relocated to Brazoria County Texas. I will continue to practice in the same areas with a focus on Guardianship.
Sr. Paralegal
Crain Caton & James
Sr. Paralegal at a large Houston Firm before relocating back to East Texas to practice law after obtaining law degree.
Foley & Colley
Worked as a paralegal in a Tyler Law Firm until I moved to Houston to go to Law School.
State Bar of Texas
Professional Associations
State Bar of Texas  # 24047821
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
State Bar of Texas
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  • Credit Cards Accepted
Practice Areas
    Arbitration & Mediation
    Business - Arbitration/Mediation, Consumer - Arbitration/Mediation, Family - Arbitration/Mediation
    Estate Planning
    Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Wills
    Family Law
    Adoption, Child Custody, Child Support, Father's Rights, Guardianship & Conservatorship, Paternity, Prenups & Marital Agreements, Restraining Orders
    Collaborative Law, Contested Divorce, Military Divorce, Property Division, Same Sex Divorce, Spousal Support & Alimony, Uncontested Divorce
    Probate Administration, Probate Litigation, Will Contests
    Real Estate Law
    Commercial Real Estate, Condominiums, Easements, Eminent Domain, Homeowners Association, Land Use & Zoning, Mortgages, Neighbor Disputes, Residential Real Estate, Water Law
  • English
Legal Answers
Q. What happens to the house when a spouse passes away without a will and their joint children and stepchildren involved?
A: If the wife did not have a will and the property is community property, the spouse has a life estate interest in the home and owns half of it. His community property half. The other half is owned by the biological or adopted children of the wife in equal parts. The husband should not be able to sell the property without all the children's signing off and receiving half of the proceeds.

But if the husband chooses to continue to live on the property he is responsible for maintaining the property and paying taxes and keeping insurance on the property. He is responsible to protect the beneficiaries (children's) interest in the property and if he does not the heirs can force him to do so with legal action. When he passes his half will go to whoever he leaves it to in a will, or if he also has no will, it will go to his biological or adopted children also in equal parts. Therefore, the children of both husband and wife will have a greater share than the children of only one of them. Unless there is an agreement among the children to do something different.

There is a probate procedure that can go through the court to determine who are the rightful heirs of the wife, even without a will. Heirship Proceedings. There is also a document that can be prepared and filed in the deed records that will not go through the court but puts potential buyers on notice of the heirs called an heirship affidavit. It is less effective but also less expensive than an heirship affidavit and is better if there are two of them prepared by someone with knowledge of the required facts but not an interested party.

You should seek the assistance of a probate attorney with your specific situation to determine the best course of action for your situation.
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Q. My ex went on a surprise vacation with her lover, I was told I could not keep him while she is gone. Is that right?
A: That would depend on what your order states. Some orders have provisions for that but it is not general language if it was not something that you fought for or requested during the creation of the order.
Q. How would an heir go about addressing a church pastor who took over a deceased loved one's property and assets?
A: I also agree with setting a meeting with the pastor to determine what he knows and maybe take proof if you have any of your relationship. Also agree that you will want to meet with a probate attorney as soon as possible. If you are aware of a will provide any information you have. When you meet with a probate attorney they will know what to ask you in order to proceed with the proper type of probate procedure.
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Websites & Blogs
Contact & Map
Law Office of Melissa O'Neal
201 E. Myrtle, Box 12 (Suite 210)
Angleton, TX 77515
Telephone: (979) 330-5122
Fax: (903) 638-6897
Monday: 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM - 7 PM (Today)
Thursday: 8:30 AM - 5 AM
Friday: 8:30 AM - 12 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Notice: Offering virtual appointments. Contact me by e-mail at for appointment times and location options in West Columbia and Angleton.