What is probate?
Probate is the legal process by which a court recognizes a person’s death and authorizes the administration of their estate. This includes inventorying assets, paying debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the deceased’s will or state law. In Texas, you have four years from the date of death to initiate probate proceedings.
There are three types of probate in Texas:
- Independent administration is the most common type, allowing an executor to manage and administer the estate without court supervision.
- Dependent administration requires court oversight throughout the entire estate administration process.
- Muniment of title requires very little court involvement and does not require an estate administration at all.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep your estate out of probate altogether. You can do this by setting up trusts or utilizing joint ownership with the right of survivorship on certain assets like real estate or bank accounts.
Additionally, you can designate beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts so these assets pass directly to those individuals without going through probate.
Each situation is unique, and you may want to contact someone who can help you determine which option is best for you and your family. With proper planning and guidance, you can ensure that your wishes are followed after you pass away while avoiding costly delays associated with probate proceedings in Texas.