What Are Some Misconceptions That People Have About The Probate Process?
Many people have the misconception that upon a family member’s passing, some unknown entity is going to take possession of all of the assets they left behind. In reality, it is the executor of the will who has the responsibility of paying debts and distributing the assets in accordance with the will.
Another misconception is that probate is a very difficult process and that living trusts should be used instead. The truth is that the probate process in Texas isn’t as difficult as it is in other states, and living trusts generally aren’t necessary. In part, this is because there is no probate estate tax in Texas, which means that unless a person meets the federal estate tax which is $11.58 million, a will is all they need. The probate process is actually very easy, and for the most part, the attorney will handle everything while the executor of the will function more like a figurehead who makes decisions only when necessary.
In the absence of a will, dealing with a decedent’s estate can be a little bit more difficult because it will require witnesses to go to court, and there will be a delay due to the need for a court-appointed attorney called attorney ad litem.
What Factors Set The Stage For Probate To Occur In Texas?
Probate occurs when someone passes away and leaves behind assets that are in their name and can’t be transferred to their heirs without going through probate. If a bank account has been assigned a beneficiary designation, then probate would not be needed. Similarly, a transfer on death deed on a house would allow for the transfer of that house to bypass the probate process. If, however, a house was still in the name of the decedent, then the house would have to go through probate, which would entail the courts granting power to someone to transfer the deed through the probate process. Depending on a person’s situation, it may be possible to avoid probate, and this is something with which I am often able to help clients.
What Are My Options For Avoiding Probate In Texas?
Proper estate planning can help someone avoid probate by ensuring that bank accounts, stock accounts, retirement accounts, houses, vehicles, and other assets have designated beneficiaries. With that said, everyone over the age of 18 should at least have a will because that makes probate so much easier and less expensive.
For more information on Misconceptions About Probate 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.