In Texas, the probate process can be overwhelming for beneficiaries and those involved in distributing a decedent’s estate. The good news, however, is that for those whose assets are below a certain amount, there is a simplified probate process available. This process is shorter and more efficient, but it still comes with several important procedural steps that cannot be avoided.
Who Qualifies for the Simplified Probate Process?
There are three basic requirements to qualify for the simplified probate process: the decedent must not have left behind a will, at least 30 days must have passed since the individual’s passing, and the value of all property belonging to the decedent must not exceed $75,000. This $75,000 amount does not include certain exempt property, which is more closely defined in the state statute laying out this procedure.
What Does the Simplified Probate Process Entail?
As the name suggests, this process is less costly and involved, but it still has certain important steps that must be taken. First, inheritors must fill out a form called a “small estate affidavit.” This form essentially tells the court what property and debts are involved in the decedent’s estate, and it lists the people that stand to benefit from the estate’s distribution.
A judge must then approve this form. Next, beneficiaries take a copy of the judge’s approval and present it to any bank, company, or individual holding assets that belonged to the decedent. The beneficiaries are then automatically entitled to receive the money or property that they are owed.
Because this process is shorter, it can often be a way to get assets into the hands of beneficiaries without the hassle of a drawn-out probate process. If things are not done correctly, however, there can be hurdles to consider, which is why speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best thing anyone in this situation can do for themselves and their loved ones. Additionally, those who have too many assets to qualify for the simplified probate process may be able to reduce the amount of probate assets in their estate by implementing sound probate avoidance strategies.
Have You Found an Attorney for Your Probate Needs in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we understand that the death of a loved one comes with enough difficulty and sadness on its own – undergoing a long, involved probate process on top of that is not what anyone wants to do. At our firm, we take the time to walk each client and their loved ones through the various options available to them under probate law in Texas. We are experts in our field, and we would be honored to stand alongside you as you navigate the probate process during an already difficult time.
If you would like to consult with a member of our team, give us a call today at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form to tell us about your situation and have someone get in touch with you.