How to Effectively–and Legally–Bypass Probate in Texas

In Texas, there are several basic strategies you can implement to bypass probate. If you have been part of probate proceedings following a loved one’s death, you know that probate can be difficult to navigate and frustrating to deal with when you have other things on your mind. The process can also take time and resources that unnecessarily delay the process of passing assets from the descendent to his or her beneficiaries. Today, we cover some probate avoidance strategies that you can implement to bypass probate with your own assets.

Create a Revocable Living Trust

One basic tool we often recommend to our clients is the revocable living trust. This tool allows you to put assets in a trust, essentially sealing the money from outside influences such as creditors, debtors, and probate. While creating a revocable living trust, the grantor often names him or herself as the trustee, therefore allowing him or herself to maintain control of the assets.

Once the grantor dies, however, control passes to a second trustee, often named in the estate planning documents. The next trustee then distributes assets however the grantor asked for them to be distributed.

Start a Payable on Death Account

A second tool that is effective for avoiding probate is creating “payable on death” accounts, where an account owner can tell the bank that in the event of his or her death, the money should automatically pass to a designated beneficiary. This money then never has to appear before the probate courts.

Draw Up a Transfer on Death Deed

Similarly, a “transfer on death” deed allows a property owner to name a beneficiary to inherit property immediately upon death. Just like the payable on death account, this option gives the owner the option to change the beneficiary at any point in his or her own life.

Ultimately, the list of probate avoidance strategies is much longer than what we have provided here, and it will depend entirely on your circumstances and goals. While this list can get you started, we advise that you speak with an experienced Houston estate planning attorney to walk you through the options that might be right for you. Avoiding probate can take some time and resources on the front end, but in the long run, your loved ones will be grateful for the work you put in.

Is McCulloch & Miller the Estate Planning Firm for You?

As you peruse your options for a Houston estate planning attorney, consider our legal team at McCulloch & Miller. We have decades of experience in the field, and we are proud to implement client-centered strategies that take each individual’s goals into account. Our team takes an empathetic, holistic approach to estate planning, and we would be honored to hear about your priorities so that we can help you along the way.
For a consultation with a Houston estate planning attorney from our firm, give us a call today at 713-903-7879. You can also fill out our online form with your contact information to have an attorney get back in touch with you as soon as possible.


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