In Texas, If You Have A Joint Account With Right Of Survivorship, Can Probate Be Avoided For That Account?
If you have a joint account, with right of survivorship, the bank should grant you access, avoiding probate. We have seen some cases where, in our interpretation of the paperwork, there seems to be a designation, but the bank disagrees. At that point in time, an attorney may contact the bank directly, to clarify any issues, with the intent of avoiding probate.
Could A Bank Release Funds Without Probate?
There are a couple of different scenarios when a bank will release funds without probate. The first is with a transfer on death, or payable on death, beneficiary designation already in place. Sometimes it just depends on the bank. If you get a small bank that knew the family, they may choose to accept alternate methods, such as an affidavit of heirship or small estate affidavit. It is a case-by-case basis, really the only safe route is probate.
In Texas, Do I Have To Probate My Deceased Spouse’s Will, In Which I’m Named As Sole Beneficiary, If The Only Assets Owned Were A House And Car?
Yes, you must probate your spouse’s will in Texas, even if you are the sole beneficiary. This is an area that often gets people in trouble when they assume they can automatically take everything and avoid probate.
The decedent’s name is still on the title or the deed and must be cleared; this is typically taken care of through the probate court, with a will or a small estate affidavit. A will won’t have any validity until a court gives it that validity. To avoid probate, the spouse should establish a transfer on death beneficiary for assets before they pass.
How Much Does An Estate Have To Be Worth To Go Through Probate In Texas?
There is no minimum worth required for an estate to go through probate, but the cost of probate should be evaluated with the value of the estate. You can go to probate for $1…if the decedent has a bank account with only a dollar in that account, you can go through probate, but it wouldn’t be worth the expense.
After Death, How Long Does The Executor Have To Distribute Assets In Texas?
There is no set period to distribute assets in Texas. The will might say they can’t distribute for a certain period or there should be some sort of distribution at certain times. If the executor’s taking a long time, more than 14 months, the heirs can ask for accounting to force the distribution. If the executor doesn’t want to, the heirs can go to a judge to sign an order, either removing the executor or ordering the executor to take action.
The executor can argue “We don’t know if all the debts have come in yet,” or “We need to assess debts before we can distribute.” These arguments are subject to reasonable thought, it must be demonstrated that there is still some sort of debt that is being worked out. If this is the case, they can’t distribute anything. If there is a possible debt, but it’s only going to be 20% of the estate at most, then they should be distributing the rest of the estate within a reasonable amount of time.
For more information on Probate Laws in Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 829-6100 today.
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