You often hear stories about estates dragging on in probate court or about large amounts of money being spent on the probate of the estate.
Many estates never go through the probate process at all because there are legal instruments you can put in place prior to death to avoid probate. Here are a few to consider:
- Revocable Transfer on Death Deed. A revocable transfer on death deed transfers real estate property to the person you designate in the deed upon your death, without the need for probate. To be valid, before your death, the document must be filed with the county clerk in the area where the property is located, and you may revoke it later if you change your mind.
- Joint Tenancy. When people own property in joint tenancy, the property automatically transfers to the surviving owner when the other owner dies. Under Texas law, the only condition is that the surviving owner must live at least five days longer than the deceased owner. This applies to vehicles, real estate, bank accounts and other property owned together.
- Payable-on-death Designations for Bank Accounts. For savings accounts and certificates of deposit, you can create a payable-on-death (POD) designation and whomever you designate can access the money directly after your death without having to go through probate.
- Survivorship Community Property. Spouses can sign an agreement to own property together so when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse directly owns the property without going through probate.
Texas does not allow you to have transfer-on-death registration for stocks and bonds or vehicles.
Get Legal Help with Estate Planning
Our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can help you make important decisions about estate planning and assist you with creating legal documents that help you avoid probate.