Texas is known to have one of the easiest and least time-consuming probate processes in the United States. This is because the executor of an estate may pursue independent administration, which requires very little court supervision. Most wills direct an executor to pursue independent administration of the estate, but an executor or administrator may also ask the court for the authority to pursue independent administration if all beneficiaries agree. If a will does not allow for independent administration, if there is no will, or if all beneficiaries do not agree to let an executor pursue this course of action, dependent administration under the supervision of the Texas Probate Court will be required.
In both independent and dependent administration of an estate in Texas, an attorney can offer invaluable guidance and representation. It can be difficult to understand your specific duties if you have been named executor or administrator. If you are an heir or beneficiary, you may face other issues. A Waco probate attorney at Rainey & Rainey can help.
To find out how our firm can provide skilled representation during probate, call (254) 826-8151.
Must All Estates & Assets Go Through Probate?
Probate is a legal process that involves validating a will and administering an estate. During probate, a will is reviewed to ensure it is legally sound. After that, probate will involve collecting and recording the decedent’s assets, paying necessary taxes, and distributing property and assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the will. Not all estates must go through probate, however, and some assets can be transferred without going through probate.
The following are exceptions to probate in Texas:
- Estates valued at less than $75,000, not including the value of the house, where the decedent died without a will and the judge approves by court order a Small Estate Affidavit.
Assets that pass by contract or other direct transfer such as:
- Life insurance proceeds;
- Survivor’s benefits from an annuity;
- Ladybird Deeds;
- Transfer on Death Deeds;
- Trust assets;
- Payable-on-death bank accounts; and
- Community property and property held as joint tenancy with right of survivorship.
Probate is not a difficult or expensive process in Texas and it is often the best way to transfer assets, negotiate debts and/or gather assets for the beneficiaries of the will. Sometimes an abbreviated procedure called probating the will as a Muniment of Title can quickly and affordably transfer assets and ensure that heirs and beneficiaries get legal title to their assets. This will allow them to later sell their inherited property without any problems from title companies.
Find out if probate applies in your situation and how to make sure your rights are protected. Contact a Waco probate lawyer at (254) 826-8151 today!