Probate courts hold proceedings to settle the question of the inheritance and transfer of a decedent’s assets when they leave no instructions for how to do so.
Probate court proceedings are long, costly, and often emotionally draining for the surviving family and next-of-kin.
However, by taking action to outline a plan of action for your assets, you can spare your loved ones the hassle of dealing with a probate court after your passing. Read on to learn about some of your options for avoiding probate in Texas and how a Houston business lawyer can help.
Ways to Avoid Probate in Texas
When you die, the question of what to do with your assets—real estate, money, cars, and other belongings—can become quite complicated and even overwhelming for your loved ones if you are not proactive. By laying out a plan for your assets while still alive, you can spare your loved ones the hassle of dealing with a probate court at all.
Some of the best ways to avoid probate include:
Establishing a Living Trust –Living trust documents function similarly to wills. They allow you to transfer ownership of any asset in your estate to a successor trustee as outlined in the trust document, without having to go through probate. All you have to do is create the trust document, transfer your assets to the trust, and then name someone as the successor trustee—allowing the assets to be controlled by the terms of the trust.
Right of Survivorship – Owning an asset jointly with someone else—such as your spouse—can allow you to transfer it directly to them on your passing without going through probate. In Texas, there are two forms of joint ownership where the right of survivorship makes this possible. The first is through joint tenancy. The second is through something called a survivorship community property. When a couple shares the ownership of assets through either of these arrangements, it allows for the easy transfer of ownership to the surviving partner upon your passing.
Transfer-on-Death Arrangements – Another way to avoid probate is by creating a transfer-on-death deed or registration for your real estate and motor vehicles, respectively. With a transfer-on-death deed, you can sign over the ownership of your property now, but it will not take effect until after your passing. The same thing applies for a transfer-on-death registration for your vehicle, which will ensure the smooth transfer of the car, motorcycle or other vehicle over to your loved one without the need for probate court.
Payable-on-Death Bank Account Designation – By adding a payable-on-death arrangement to your savings account or certificate of deposit, you can seamlessly transfer the money in your account to a named beneficiary without the need for probate.
Although the prospect of going to probate court can be emotionally draining for your loved ones, you can help them by taking the initiative to ensure the smooth transfer of your assets today—and an estate planning attorney from The Curry Law Firm can help.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today
Don’t leave your loved ones an inheritance mess—help them avoid probate by consulting an experienced estate planning attorney from The Curry Law Firm today.
Call us at 713-678-0013 or fill out the form below to get started today.