Probate is the legal process that proves a will is a valid document. Typically, the probate court appoints a representative to handle the estate and distribute the assets according to the details of the will.
You may want to avoid probate to minimize costs, reduce the time it takes to settle the estate or prevent the process from becoming a public record.
How can you avoid probate?
There are several ways to prevent your estate from going through probate court in Texas. Consider some of these planning methods.
Create a living trust
With a living trust, you have control over it until your death, at which time, the trustee you appoint takes over. This person then distributes the holdings according to your wishes.
Reduce the value of your estate
Give away your assets while you are still living to minimize the size of your estate. This tactic decreases the time it takes for your will to go through probate and provides tax benefits.
Add another owner to your assets
When you make someone else a joint owner of your real estate, bank accounts or vehicles, the holdings can transfer to that person without a probate process.
Transfer property on death
Designate this kind of transfer on the titles, deeds or registrations by naming the beneficiary. The person you choose does not have any rights to the assets until the time of your death when the transfer occurs.
Are there reasons you may want probate?
Some issues such as lawsuits, IRS problems, remaining debts or disputes regarding your will or estate may need to go through probate to address them adequately.
Deciding how to handle the details of your estate requires thorough knowledge of Texas laws regarding the probate process.