Texas Probate Avoidance Strategies: How to Structure Your Assets for the Best Possible Outcome

One very common fear among those starting their end-of-life planning is that the Texas probate administration process will be difficult for their family members after they are gone. It is true that probate administration can be complicated, and it is also true that there are ways that individuals can make sure their assets go directly into their beneficiaries’ hands instead of going through a probate court at all. At McCullough & Miller, we offer guidance as to how to structure your assets so that you can make things as simple and straightforward as possible for your loved ones.

As we have addressed on our blog in the past, Texas probate administration is a process by which a judge presides over the distribution of a decedent’s assets. The entire process takes anywhere from three months to several years, and it can get very complicated as a person’s loved ones try to make sure everything is done thoroughly, fairly, and efficiently after that person’s death.

Avoiding the Probate Process Altogether

There are, however, ways to make sure your money goes directly into the hands of your loved ones if you want to bypass the probate process with certain specific assets. For example, you can add what is called a “payable-on-death” designation to your bank accounts. This means that as soon as you die, a person you name will automatically receive whatever money is in that account. This account is then exempt from the probate process entirely.

Another way to avoid probate is by making a living trust for your physical property or money. Essentially, you name an individual who will be the trustee over this property after you die. You then transfer ownership of the property from yourself as an individual to yourself as a trustee; when you die, the property automatically goes from one trustee to another, from you to the individual you named as your successor. Again, this allows you to avoid the probate process entirely.

You can also transfer jointly owned property to another individual without going through probate. By owning property with the “right of survivorship,” your co-owner will automatically own the property if they survive you (as you will automatically own it if you survive them). Designating a property as jointly owed with the right of survivorship can be complicated, but skillful attorneys can help you ensure your documents are properly drawn up to make sure you are covered.

Are You Looking for a Probate Attorney in Houston, Texas?

At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we specialize in elder law, trusts, and estate planning around the Houston area. We have spent over 40 years walking our clients through these complicated financial processes, and our clients trust us to get them reliable results that protect their loved ones long after they are gone. If you need an attorney, give us a call today – we offer flat fees and a transparent payment process. You can call us at (713) 936-9073 or fill out our online form to reach us.

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