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Estate Planning Lawyer Arlington, TX

For Simple Estates:

For simple estates, there are several mechanisms which can be utilized to avoid probate, with the help of an estate planning lawyer Arlington, TX offers.  For instance, the use of Payable on Death bank accounts and accounts with Right-of-Survivorship will suffice to pass funds held in bank accounts to your designated beneficiary or the person listed as the survivor.  The same is true with many retirement accounts which are governed by contract (i.e. where a beneficiary designation can be utilized).

For real property such as the family home, if all of the debts of the estate have been paid, a simple affidavit of heirship can be prepared and filed with the county clerk of the county where the property is located to effectuate the passage of title to the home.  Also, special deeds such as Survivorship Deeds and Lady-Bird Deeds can be utilized to avoid probate. Titles to vehicles can also be handled with special vehicle affidavits of heirship that are available from the local vehicle title office.

For personal property such as the household furnishings and other non-titled articles, the family can simply agree on how to divide these items. However, it is important to note that the agreement of all of the heirs is necessary.

For Complex Estates:

In Texas, you can make a living trust to avoid probate for virtually any asset you own — real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, and so on.   This is accomplished by creating a trust during your lifetime and naming someone to serve as trustee over the property transferred into the trust.

A living trust is set up by the settlor, the person who places the assets in trust. The goal is generally to place as many assets into the trust as possible. Some assets, such as retirement accounts and life insurance cannot be transferred. The assets in the trust are managed for your benefit while you are alive. You must name a trustee to do this, however most people name themselves for optimum control. You will also name a successor trustee who takes over after your death. The successor will continue to protect and manage trust assets and then disperse them to your beneficiaries according to your instructions.  A revocable living trust is flexible because you can alter it or even eliminate it whenever you wish. An Irrevocable living trust is not nearly as flexible because it cannot be altered.

A living trust is beneficial because trust assets do not go through probate.  Because of the probate process, assets passed through a will cannot be distributed until probate has concluded. A trust avoids all of this red tape and allows you to pass assets to beneficiaries upon your death if you wish. A trust also can avoid probate in more than one state, as long as the assets owned in those states are included in the trust.

Contact Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into estate planning and probate.