What Assets Goes Through Probate in Texas?

Probate is the legal process through which a court reviews a decedent’s will or estate planning documents and accepts the documents as valid and enforceable. In Texas, there are certain assets that must go through probate. There are, however, ways around probate, which many clients are interested in, given the cost and time that probate requires. On today’s blog, we review which assets must go through probate in Texas, but as always, it is best to speak with a Houston estate planning attorney if you have more detailed questions about the process.

Put simply, your estate goes through probate in Texas. The “estate” includes: financial accounts in your name, real estate, notes (i.e. money that someone owes you), personal property, LLC interest (companies you own or operate), lawsuits (where you might have a chance of a recovery), and inheritance. Assets in your estate will be subject to probate, no matter how bi or small those assets are.

Many individuals are interested in avoiding probate, and there are several strategies we recommend with this goal in mind. You can, for example, organize your assets in a way that excludes them from probate. One such method of organization is forming a trust – the money in the trust will be protected from probate. You could also open a transfer-on-death account. This is essentially a bank account that tells the bank to automatically transfer money to a beneficiary upon your death, therefore avoiding the probate courts.

Another way to organize your property to avoid probate is by owning property jointly. If you own property “in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship,” you own the property jointly with another individual. When one person passes, the “right of survivorship” means that the second individual has the right to the property even when his or her co-owner is no longer alive.

Ultimately, every estate is different, and every person’s estate plan will necessarily be different as well. While it is true that many assets go through probate in Texas, it is also true that a qualified, thorough estate planning attorney can help you figure out how to make sure probate is as minimally intrusive as possible for you and your loved ones. In order to ease the burden for your beneficiaries in the event of your passing, we recommend you speak with a Houston estate planning attorney that can look at your circumstances and recommend the best course of action for your estate planning journey.

Are You and Your Family Looking for a Houston Estate Planning Attorney?

At McCulloch & Miller, our firm specializes in working with you through all steps of the estate planning and probate processes, helping you make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Our services are backed by more than three decades of experience practicing law in Texas, and our clients trust us to have their best interests in mind. For a consultation with a Houston estate planning attorney, call us today at 713-955-7281. You can also fill out our online form to have a member of our team reach back out to you about your case as soon as possible.


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