... ....

A Heritage  Firm With A History Of Success

Is probate something to avoid?

Sep 17, 2021 | Estate Planning And Probate Law

Probate can be confusing and cumbersome at a time when a Texas family needs loving support and direction following the death of a loved one. Typically, probate is necessary to ‘open’ an estate in order to file a last will and testament to be approved by the court, pay any debts owed by the deceased, notify heirs and make any necessary distribution of assets. The court supervises each step. It may take several months or even years to complete the probate process, which ends when the court closes the estate. For that reason, many of my clients prefer to design tax-efficient and probate-avoiding estate plans. The prudence of avoiding probate Estate planning decisions are personal, and will again depend on the specific aims and objectives that you have for your successors and beneficiaries of your estate. Probate can be costly, particularly if disputes arise regarding the validity of a will or the complexity of the estate. Probate records are public record, which means anyone can access them. Privacy, savings and efficiency are typically cited as the main reasons behind the desire to avoid probate. Steps to avoiding probate There is some estate planning that can achieve that goal – assets held not individually but in a trust are not subject to probate, and an asset that is owned jointly with the other owner would pass outside the probate process. Other kinds of workarounds would transfer the assets or allow a named beneficiary access to the funds outside of probate. The best choice for a specific estate If the individual is a Texas adult and his or her estate plan focuses primarily on avoiding probate, then the series of decisions made should lead to a plan that will achieve that goal not just today or tomorrow, but throughout. The estate planning tools that will help accomplish this goal, and a variety of related strategies, should be considered. A consultation with an estate planning attorney can be a great help to identify all of the various options.