What Assets Can Avoid Probate

What Assets Can Avoid Probate

Our Brazoria County estate planning attorneys outline some ways certain assets can avoid probate court proceedings.

When a loved one passes, it is often devastating for surviving family members. Unfortunately, in the midst of their grief, there are still practical matters that must be attended to. Estate planning helps to make this process easier and ensures everything is handled in a way you would have wanted. Avoiding probate court proceedings for certain assets can quickly get those assets to your loved ones. Our Brazoria County estate planning attorneys can show you how.

Brazoria County Probate Court Proceedings

When you pass away, probate court proceedings are generally required to avoid title issues to real estate and settle your estate. If you have a legally valid will, it can act as a guide through this process. The first step involves having the person named as your independent executor in your will file an application with the Brazoria County Probate Court. Once they are appointed to act as your independent executor, the following tasks must be completed:

  • An inventory of all property and assets you possess must be submitted to the court;
  • Notice must be given to any potential creditors;
  • All outstanding debts must be paid;
  • A final tax return for the estate must be filed;
  • Any remaining property and assets are distributed among beneficiaries.

Non-Probate Assets

Under the Texas Estates Code, there are certain types of property and assets which are exempt from probate court proceedings. This means they pass directly to your loved ones, avoiding probate. Life insurance and retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries are two examples. Other ways you can avoid probate court include:

  • Designate bank accounts as ‘payable on death’: This is a simple matter which can be dealt with on a single visit to your local bank and allows funds to go directly to the person you name.
  • Lady Bird Deed or Transfer on Death Deed: If you own a home or other types of real estate, you can execute a deed reserving the right to live on the real property for the remainder of your life and upon your death it transfers to the person you indicate in the deed. This allows it to pass directly to your loved ones, avoiding probate.
  • Designate motor vehicles as transferable on death (TOD): Similar to payable on death accounts, this allows you to directly transfer ownership of motor vehicles directly to a loved one.
  • Establish a trust: A trust allows money and property to be transferred to others without going through probate and also allows you to dictate the terms of how assets are dispersed.

Our Brazoria County Estate Planning Attorneys are Here to Help

At the Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, we will advise you regarding non-probate assets and plan for an efficient probate process by prepare a last will and testament. To schedule a consultation, contact our Brazoria County estate planning attorneys today.