||It is possible with good planning to avoid probate altogether, if that is your goal. There are techniques that meet Michael Wald’s criteria of being flexible, effective, and affordable to accomplish this goal. But if your estate is relatively straight- forward, you might decide to plan to go through probate.
Many people find pre-paid funerals a good idea and choose to arrange for one. You can do the same thing with a probate, essentially handling the transfer of your estate out of your name while you are alive and capable of overseeing the task yourself, thus avoiding the need to ever probate your estate. After all, who knows your estate better than you? Ask Michael Wald about how to do this.
The Texas probate process seems to many persons outside the legal world to be a long, drawn-out and expensive process for settling a deceased person's affairs.
This is often not the case as your probate matter may be fairly straight-forward and not require an attorney. However, it is always advisable to have a probate attorney review your case to help you avoid costly and time-consuming delays.
While this website won't begin to explain any complex issues that may occur in the settling of some estates, it should give the reader an overview of the probate process.
What is Texas Probate?
The term probate means to "prove" the will through a proceeding usually in court. However, a will does not always exist (or is not available) and so
laws are established in Texas to deal with the orderly distribution of assets to those who are entitled to inherit them, generally after being reviewed or monitored by a judge or other court-appointed person.
What is Involved in Settling an Estate?
This involves a process which:
All property is said to be owned by the "estate" of the deceased person and must remain so until the probate process is complete and the judge or other court-appointed person says it may be distributed.
- Determines what personal property and real estate (if any) is owned by the deceased person.
- Pays any taxes or debts that the deceased person may owe (including costs of doing probate), and
- Distributes all real and personal property which remains to the rightful beneficiaries.
How Long Does It Take to Settle an Estate in Texas?
The entire probate process will differ from state to state and the size and complexity of the "estate." In Texas, small estates may even avoid a formal probate when the total assets
are small in value. Again, in Texas, the minimum time an estate will likely be open is probably from
two months to a year; possibly more if the estate requires real property such as a home to be sold and the buyer to close escrow.
Having a will, alone, does not mean probate is unnecessary. Although a will might make the process simpler, probate is still required for assets in the deceased's name alone.
To avoid probate, a living trust can be used, whereby probate can be avoided
for all of the decedent's assets owned by the trust. Upon death, title to those assets passes according to the terms of the trust without need of probate. For additional questions please
email Mr. Wald or contact him at 972-788-3318.
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