In the past, our blog has focused on the probate process and the many different implications for decedents, family, and friends. As we have emphasized, the probate process is complex, and it involves many actors as well as a detailed procedure that can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years to play out.
When getting to know our clients and their individual needs, we often end up recommending that people try to avoid the probate process altogether – that is, we encourage our clients to think about how to organize their assets and debts in a way that makes them exempt from having to be reviewed by a probate court at all. Because it is so common for a person’s estate to go through probate, it is also important to understand why avoiding probate might be worth considering.
Reasons to Consider Bypassing Probate
First of all, the probate process happens through the probate courts, so everything that goes on becomes part of the public record. If your estate or your family dynamics involve information you would rather keep confidential, avoiding probate might be right for you.
The probate process can also be expensive and involved. It often requires hiring an estate executor, and it also means that loved ones may have to wait for the process to play out before they can get access to the funds they are supposed to receive. Each step of the probate process is essential, and if you miss one step, it can have detrimental effects and set you back more time than you intended. Being at the mercy of the courts means you don’t always get a say in how quickly or efficiently things move along.
The probate process also involves notifying any potential beneficiary that a decedent has passed away. If there is any family member that you have intentionally not included in your estate plan, the probate process could provide that person the opportunity to contest your decision and try to get access to your assets anyway. While you can put in safeguards to try and keep this from happening, this fact can complicate the process, since all possible beneficiaries have a right to know that the estate is being reviewed.
These are just a few of the reasons you or a loved one might consider organizing your assets so that they do not have to go through probate courts in Texas. Because there are so many options that might fit your estate planning needs, we recommend that you speak with an estate planning attorney that can help you understand what might be right for you.
Do You Have an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we recognize that every individual has a different set of goals, needs, and priorities. We take the time and energy to get to know our clients so that we can advise them in the most trustworthy way possible. If you are beginning the estate planning process, thinking about probate avoidance strategies may be something you should consider. To learn more, contact our team today – we can be reached at 713-936-9073, or you can fill out our online form to get in touch with us.