After a person dies, their estate will most likely go through probate before beneficiaries receive their awards. Probate is the legal process of closing out a deceased person’s estate. In Texas, the process is easier than most other states.
Sometimes an estate doesn’t even need to go through probate. Transferred assets can end up with the rightful beneficiary if they are:
- community property;
- the product of joint tenancy;
- payable-on-death accounts; and/or
- life insurance awards.
Types of Probate
Probate varies by state. In Texas, there are a few procedures to choose from:
Independent Administration of Estates
Many drafted wills name a person as executor of the deceased’s estate. This executor has the choice to pursue independent administration rather than dependent administration.
Independent administration allows the executor to:
- take steps to settle the estate without asking court permission; and
- initiate the probate process without posting a bond (an insurance policy that protects the estate against executor related losses).
While this process is less formal than most forms of probate, the executor is responsible for publishing a notice of the estate’s status for the collection of any possible debt to creditors.
Muniment of the Title
If the deceased left behind a will, the muniment of title process could be an easy way to transfer the estate assets.
For muniment to occur, there:
- must be no outstanding debts (except real estate); and
- Medicaid must have no claim on any benefits the deceased may have received.
With this process, a beneficiary files the will directly to a probate court who then decides if probate is necessary.
If probate is not necessary, each beneficiary receives their share of the assets stated in the document. The person who filed the will has 6 months to prove each beneficiary received their share of the assets.
Small Estate Procedures & Affidavits
If an estate is small enough, worth $75,000 or less, the beneficiaries can quickly prepare a simple affidavit to collect their share of the assets.
Similarly, if the total value of the estate does not exceed what potential creditors or beneficiaries receive, the probate court then approves the transfer of assets and closes the estate.
Trusted Probate Administration Services
The Texas probate process can go on for months, if not done correctly. Let our attorneys at The Springer Law Firm help you divide your estate. From initial planning to eventual execution, our attorneys offer concise legal counsel.
Contact our firm online or call us at (281) 990-6025 for a case evaluation.