Both fortunately and unfortunately, the Texas probate process can be very complex. This is fortunate for many clients because it gives them different tools to creatively and efficiently create an estate plan that works for them. It is unfortunate, though, because many of these tools require significant amounts of time and money to implement. One tool that many clients find simpler to utilize is the Small Estate Affidavit, which bypasses some of the more complicated procedural requirements of probating a will and which we will review on today’s blog.
What is the Small Estate Affidavit?
A Small Estate Affidavit is a quick and cost-effective way to move through the probate process. By filling out a Small Estate Affidavit, many individuals finish the entire probate proceedings more efficiently than they would if they were to go through the entire process of a full probate administration.
To access the Small Estate Affidavit, there are many requirements, including: the decedent must have left behind no more than $75,000; the decedent must have died without a will; and the assets in the decedent’s estate must outweigh the debts.
While there are more requirements involved, these first three are the most foundational and must be met before you can consider filing a Small Estate Affidavit.
How Does the Small Estate Affidavit Work?
If your loved one died and meets the requirements above, you can file a Small Estate Affidavit with the court. The court reviews the affidavit and sometimes requires a brief hearing to formally review the decedent’s estate. After the hearing, the court approves the distribution of the decedent’s assets.
Overall, this process takes much less time than a typical probate administration since there is less to review and since the Small Estate Affidavit provides the bulk of necessary information to the court.
Is the Small Estate Affidavit Right for Me?
If, upon first glance, the Small Estate Affidavit seems to fit your needs and goals, you should speak with an estate planning attorney to learn more. It is important to file the affidavit in the proper court and also to make sure it includes sufficient detail so as not to have to repeat any parts of the probate process. By retaining the advice of an estate planning attorney, you can make sure you only have to go through this process once, and you can get access to the assets you need as soon as possible.
Are You on the Lookout for an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, our clients have a wide range of priorities, and we make sure their wishes are well represented as we guide them through the estate planning and probate processes in Texas. If you are looking for a trusted Houston estate planning attorney to help you take care of your assets, we are here to help.
For a consultation with a member of our team, call us today at (713) 597-7176. You can also fill out our online form to have an attorney get in touch with you by phone.