When our estate planning and probate attorneys sit with clients for the first time, one of the more frequent questions we get asked is if it’s possible to avoid probate in Texas. Naturally, most people would rather avoid this legal step because of its reputation for being lengthy, confusing, costly, and emotionally draining for the loved ones we leave behind.
They may have also heard that it’s impossible to avoid it — even if a legal will is in place. But is this true? The answer lies in how you wish to proceed with your estate planning strategy and how committed you are to sparing your loved ones the hassle.
You Can Avoid Probate in Texas If …
Probate isn’t always necessary. Some wills simply don’t need to be probated for a variety of reasons. But more often than not, the probate process is either required or recommended. Even if you have a will, all that does is tell the probate court your wishes. If executed correctly, the court will verify everything (appoint an executor, approve inventory of the estate assets, confirm heirs, etc.) and allow your assets to be distributed accordingly.
So, your loved ones will still have to go through the probate process — albeit an easier version of it.
To the time and expense of full probate proceedings, our suggestion is to create a trust. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement designed to let you decide exactly how you want your assets distributed and then transferred to your chosen beneficiaries. And it is not subject to probate laws. In fact, any assets held in the trust pass directly to your named beneficiaries. Unlike a will that only takes effect when you die, a trust can be created and managed during your lifetime. This is huge because it allows you to account for disability and incapacitation — not just death.
A critical step to avoiding probate in Texas by establishing a trust is that once the trust is created, you must fund it by transferring ownership of your assets from you to the trust. Once all that’s done, all property and assets will be controlled by the terms of the trust.
In talking to a probate attorney and having them review your unique situation, you may find additional ways to avoid probate in Texas.
A few of those could include:
- You can establish joint ownership of property with survivorship rights.
- You can designate beneficiaries for retirement accounts to prevent those assets from going through probate.
- Establish a transfer-on-death deed for property, which eliminates the need for that asset to be probated.
- You can set up payable-on-death designations for all bank accounts.
Everyone’s circumstances are different. Therefore, proper estate planning for your unique needs could involve much more than writing a will. We are here to help you put together an estate plan that goes beyond the will with a trust, health care directives, powers of attorney, and various other documents that, when working together, cover all of your bases now and into the future.
Our attorneys will help you create legal instruments to distribute your assets according to your wishes, nominate a guardian for minor children, minimize family disputes, avoid probate and estate administration, and plan for incapacity. Start planning for the future today and protect your family’s assets with the help of our trusted estate planning attorneys. Our team is dedicated to creating peace of mind for our clients and their loved ones.
Please call Christman Daniell Attorneys for your legal needs today!
Please consult an attorney for advice about your situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice about your situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice. Our Christman Daniell Attorneys, team believes in tailoring legal advice and solutions to your circumstances.
We have an unwavering commitment to helping our clients at each stage of their legal situation.