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Monday, May 21, 2018

Can I Really Avoid Probate?

In Texas, the typical way to transfer assets to heirs after a person dies is through a probate court proceeding. If the deceased person has a will when he or she dies, his or her property should be distributed according to the terms of the will. However, when a person dies without a will, the probate court will oversee the distribution of assets according to the intestate laws in Texas. In either case, a Texas probate lawyer can assist heirs in probating the estate.

However, many people want to try to avoid probate because of the time and cost involved in probating an estate. In addition, many people want to eliminate estate taxes or inheritance taxes. The good news is that you may be able to transfer most or all your assets outside of probate to avoid the probate process. Our Texas probate lawyers can review your estate plan to determine if you can benefit from some of the tools available to avoid probate in Texas.

Transferring Real Estate Outside of Probate

One asset that has been difficult to transfer outside of probate has been real estate. However, Texas has a new law that can make it easier to avoid probate for real estate. A Transfer on Death Deed allows a person to transfer real estate to another person outside of the probate process.  In addition, a Transfer on Death Deed may also avoid real estate recovery in a Medicaid claim.

Individuals still have the option of using a Lady Bird Deed to transfer real estate and avoid probate. However, the deeds have several important differences that may make one method of avoiding probate preferable to the other method for some individuals. Our Texas probate lawyer can analyze your real estate and your situation to determine which option is best for you to transfer real estate and avoid probate.

Transferring Other Assets to Avoid Probate

For other assets, there are several ways you can transfer these assets to heirs without going through probate. For instance, most retirement accounts, life insurance policies, annuities, and other financial accounts may be transferred directly to someone by using a beneficiary designation. If you do not designate a beneficiary for these accounts, the funds will be paid to your estate. In other cases, you may utilize a POD (paid on death) account that allows the funds to be transferred to someone upon your death without going through probate.

You may also utilize a trust agreement to transfer property to beneficiaries to avoid probate. However, there are many factors to consider when setting up a trust, including which type of trust provides the most benefits and the best protection of assets. Before you put any assets into a trust, you need to consult a Texas probate lawyer to discuss a comprehensive estate plan designed to avoid probate, eliminate or reduce inheritance and estate taxes, and protect your property for future generations.

Call Now to Discuss Ways You Can Avoid Probate

Our Texas probate lawyers can help you devise an estate plan that works best for you and your family.  Contact one of our Texas probate attorneys at the Law Office of Carey Thompson today to schedule a time to discuss your needs and goals for an estate plan.


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