In the wake of an event as traumatic as losing a spouse, the idea that you may be forced to go through the long, costly, arduous task of probate can be an unnecessary added stressor for many surviving spouses.
Today we’ll learn when probate is unnecessary, when a spouse may be required to go through probate, and how a probate attorney could help you and your spouse protect your assets after one of you passes.
Is Probate Necessary in Every Estate Case?
Not all estates or assets within an estate are required to enter probate. If an estate is worth less than $75,000, the estate doesn’t have to go through probate; the surviving spouse may fill out an Affidavit instead.
If a spouse dies, the only assets that need to go through a process are ones that the surviving spouse does not have joint ownership over. If the assets are jointly titled or designated to a beneficiary, probation isn’t necessary.
Any property that the pair of spouses acquire during their marriage is known as community property, and, by law, both spouses own one-half of the property. This means it does not have to go through a probate process.
Does a Surviving Spouse Have a Right to the Deceased Spouse’s Property in Texas?
The surviving spouse does not always get all their deceased spouse’s assets and belongings after they perish. At least not without a will or trust that dictates those terms.
If the state of Texas does not find a valid will, or if the will does not designate particular parcels of property, that property is intestate and goes into Texas intestate succession law.
If you and your spouse share children and your spouse has no other surviving children, or your spouse has no surviving children or other blood relatives, then you will retain your portion of the community property and your spouse’s half.
Can an Attorney Help My Spouse and I Protect Our Assets?
An estate attorney or attorney with a history of probate and succession laws will be able to look at your particular situation and distinguish which paperwork would be needed to ensure that your will is done if you or your spouse perish.
It is better to act now rather than force your spouse to react after you are long gone to the prospect of losing assets that would rightfully be theirs if only for a simple legal document. Call the attorneys at Rainey & Rainey, Attorneys at Law, LP, today and schedule an appointment to put you and your spouse at peace long before these prospects hopefully enter your life. Call (254) 457-5083.