Many people in Texas have questions about probate and how it applies when an individual passes. In general, the probate process involves the court appointing someone to wind up the decedent’s estate. The court will appoint either an executor if the decedent had a Will or an administrator if the decedent did not have a Will. The court oversees this process and ensures compliance with certain probate rules and any documents in the decedent’s estate regarding the disposition of assets, such as a will. Although the probate process may be straightforward in most situations, probate can become complicated in others. This is especially true if the decedent has substantial assets or a multifaceted estate plan. San Antonio probate lawyer Brian Maverick has provided comprehensive counsel to families throughout Bexar County and the surrounding areas. We are prepared to help you with the probate of a loved one’s estate or to help you understand how probate might unfold upon your passing. Please feel free to call us if you want to discuss your probate questions.Understanding Probate Procedures in Texas
According to Texas law, there are certain assets that a decedent can give to beneficiaries without needing to go through probate. If you can avoid or streamline the probate process, you may be able to save considerable time and money. The assets that Texas excludes from probate are property held as joint tenant with right of survivorship, bank accounts with a payable on death beneficiary, life insurance proceeds with a designated beneficiary, survivor’s benefits from an annuity, and community property owned with a right of survivorship.
Probate assets are assets that need titled to be changed like a deed to a house, car title, or financial accounts without a designated beneficiary.
If the decedent has a Will, an “Executor” is appointed to administer the estate.
If the decedent did not have a Will, then an “Administrator” is appointed to administer the estate.
When it comes to assets that must go through probate, there are two types of probate administrations under Texas law. There are also a few informal transfer procedures, which a probate attorney in San Antonio can explain. The first type of formal probate is an independent administration of the estate. The majority of Texas wills use this method of probate because it is cheaper, more efficient, and simpler than other types of administration. Even if the will does not specify independent administration, the executor can request permission from the court to pursue this type of administration if all of the beneficiaries named in the Will agree in writing upon an independent administration. In this system, the executor does not need to post bond if the decedent’s Will waives the requirement of a bond or all of the beneficiaries named in the Will agree to waive the bond requirement. Additionally, the independent executor does not need to seek permission from the court to perform certain tasks like paying debts or selling any real or personal property. The independent executor must comply with certain requirements like posting notice to any potential creditors and collecting and protecting assets until they are transferred to the named beneficiaries.
If the decedent did not have a Will, all of the heirs of the decedent may request that the administration be independent.
The second type of probate is known as dependent administration. This is similar to independent administration, but it involves much more supervision and oversight from the court which greatly increases the legal costs. A knowledgeable San Antonio probate attorney like Brian Maverick can help guide you through the nuances of a dependent administration.
When it comes to more efficient processes, muniment of title is a relatively straightforward and affordable way to transfer real property when a Will exists. In addition to a valid Will, there must be no unpaid debts owed by the decedent unless the debt is secured by real estate. Additionally, there cannot be a Medicaid claim against the estate. The court does not appoint an executor in this process, but the person who requests this process must file an affidavit with the court within six months of having the Will admitted to probate, stating that the terms of the Will have been completed.
For people who do not have a will and whose assets total less than $75,000.00, there is a helpful process for the individuals who are set to inherit the property called a small estate affidavit. The small estate procedure helps individuals with small estates avoid unnecessary delays and expenses, provided that the decedent’s financial institution will accept the small estate affidavit. We can help you determine which probate process is appropriate for you and your family.
At Maverick Law, we have assisted many families in Bexar County with navigating the Texas estate planning and probate processes. We have seen how stressful and confusing this situation can be, especially when a family is grieving the loss of a loved one. We make it our mission to provide each client with the personalized and responsive legal counsel that they deserve. Our team can ensure that you fully understand you’re the probate process and that ensures that your interests are protected at all times. To set up your free consultation, please call us at 210-828-5151 or contact us online. Thank you.