What is Probate?
Probate is a court-supervised legal process for distributing the individually owned assets of a deceased person. Assets are distributed to beneficiaries in accordance to the instructions written in the person’s will, or according to Texas law if the person died without a will. Upon the death of a family member our probate attorneys offer legal services to your executor. The executor is responsible for seeing that the assets of the estate are distributed properly and in a timely manner. An overview of the valuable guidance we provide includes:
- Review of the executed will or the estate situation if there wasn’t a will
- Gathering of all assets of the estate
- Explanation of executor’s responsibilities
- Estate tax analysis
- Collection of death benefits
- Creation of sub-trusts
- Transfer of property
- Payment of any remaining debts
Texas Probate Process
In most cases, Texas has a streamlined probate process, and there are also several less expensive non-probate alternatives that can save your family significant money, including a muniment of title and affidavits of heirship. These tools are often especially useful if the only assets to be transferred are a home, small bank accounts, or in-state real estate.
To Probate or not to Probate?
If you have a valid will then the Texas probate process is relatively simple and efficient. The key being – a valid will and the probate process will take less time and money. Without a will it is different story.
However, there are still reasons to consider an estate plan that avoids probate. Some of the negatives of Probate are:
- Lack of Privacy: The will becomes public record after death
- An open door to a Will Contest: Family members inheriting might not be happy on the split of the estate and can contest the will
- No Access to cash: Assets will only become available on completion of the probate process, which means that no immediate access to cash can be a problem to family members trying to pay bills
- Creditors and Predators: As the Will is public record, creditors of your beneficiaries can seize the inheritance to pay for outstanding debt.
Contact our probate attorneys today to discuss your probate needs and alternatives to ensure the process is simple and effective for your loved ones.