The main reason to avoid probate is time and expense. Property in an estate can be hung up for a year or more and the probate process is an added expense — both in attorney fees and court costs. The cost of probate in some states like California is exorbitant and while this isn’t the case in Texas, it’s still a good idea to avoid probate, if possible.
If your estate’s value is less than $50,000, you can file a Small Estate Affidavit, which the Texas Estates Code explains in detail. Basically, you file the affidavit, and the beneficiaries or heirs don’t have to open a probate proceeding. When funeral and medical expenses are paid and if the remaining assets meet the qualifications for a small estate, our attorneys can help you submit the paperwork for court approval. The paperwork shows the court what the estate’s finances are, so the court can approve the affidavit. The surviving spouse and children receive the estate’s assets.
If you have joint ownership of property, many assets would not pass through probate anyway. For example, when a married couple owns a home together, the home passes to the surviving spouse. The same is true of joint bank accounts and designated beneficiaries named on insurance policies, stocks, bonds and annuities. By working with an estate planning attorney, you can often reduce the amount of property that would have to pass through a will or the probate process.
If you have concerns about a will or how your estate will pass to your heirs or beneficiaries, our experienced lawyers at C.E. Borman & Associates, can help you take proper measures to protect and preserve your assets.