Arlington, TX Probate Lawyer
One of the first things a person learns when planning an estate is that probate should be avoided. Although many people have heard this before, a full explanation of why probate should be avoided – and a full description of what probate is – is rarely given. At Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, we have extensive legal experience helping clients set up their estate plans in order to avoid probate and can help you do the same for your family. The following is a brief overview of why the probate process should be avoided. For a more detailed information, contact a probate lawyer from our firm.
What is probate?
Probate is a judicial process by which an individual proves in court that a deceased person’s will is valid. This process also includes taking inventory of the recently deceased person’s property, appraising the property, and distributing the property according to the will.
Why should I avoid probate?
It involves a lot of paperwork and the presence of lawyers. Even more important, though, is that it can hold property in the estate hostage for months while the process works itself out, and the attorneys involved are typically paid from the estate property. Payment to a probate lawyer can take around five percent of the value of the property.
How can I avoid probate?
There are many ways to avoid probate. One of the simplest ways is to create a revocable living trust. In a living trust, the property is technically owned by a trustee, so the property can be transferred to the friends and family to whom you left it without difficulty. Alternatively, some property – such as ownership in land – can be jointly owned by more than one person. This joint ownership can be, for example, established as a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, which means that property will pass from one owner to the other owner when the first owner dies.
What does avoiding probate not do?
Taxes: Bypassing probate does not mean you can bypass taxes. Even if you give a lot of property and money away while you are still alive, the state may be able to tax that as well. Gift and estate taxes are not contingent on probate.
Creditors: Avoiding probate does not mean you can avoid creditors either. Assets outside of probate can be used to pay claims made by creditors after a property owner’s death. In fact, in many states’ creditors have more time to make claims on property that has not gone through probate. When a creditor is informed by the probate court about the proceeding, the creditor has a limited amount of time to make a claim. For property that is not probated, however, creditors are often able to sue for property a year or two later.
If you would like to know more about probate and how to avoid it, or if you have any other questions on matters pertaining to estate planning, contact an Arlington, TX probate lawyer from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC today.
Probate administration differs from state to state. In Texas, there are a few peculiarities to the probate process. If you are named as the executor in someone’s will or are the person in your family who is responsible for sorting through assets after a death, Brandy Austin Law Firm can assist you.
Probate is the legal process of managing and settling the estate of a deceased person who had a valid Will. Estate Administration is the legal process of managing and settling the estate of a deceased person who did not have a valid Will. In almost all cases, either Probate or Estate Administration is necessary to pass title of an asset from the deceased to a beneficiary.
Our firm represents executors, family members, and beneficiaries during the probate and estate administration process. We can advise clients about the most effective way to avoid and/or settle disputes related to an estate.
To Probate Or Not to Probate?
Not everything will need to go through the probate process:
- Some banks accounts are held jointly — with a surviving spouse, for example. The funds in the account will go directly to the survivor.
- Life insurance payments are generally made without going through probate. There are exceptions if a trust owns the policy and not the deceased, or if the estate set up other life insurance trusts.
- Also, ownership of some real property held in joint tenancy will automatically transfer to the surviving joint tenant upon the death of the other. There is no need to probate some types of property ownership for title to transfer upon death.
The size of the estate can also determine the proper probate procedure to follow, if any.
If the deceased person owed money to any person or business, those debts would need to be paid from the assets of the estate before any other disbursements can be made, in most circumstances.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys And Legal Team For Help With Proving A Will In Probate Court
Brandy Austin Law Firm has helped many families through the complex probate administration process, both in contested and uncontested cases. We can also help you if no probate is needed, which is efficient and cost-effective.
Please contact us about your probate, estate or will drafting questions. We also represent clients in Arlington and Burleson, Texas. Please call us to arrange a free consultation.
“I found Brandy Austin’s law firm while randomly listening to podcasts about Texas divorces and appreciated how thorough and forthcoming the information they gave was. Larry Mike, II worked on my divorce case that also involved the custody of a child. He was a great advisor and worked diligently to ensure that I got what I wanted from the process. He was honest when informing about what could and most likely could not be done, and I felt he truly cared about my case.”