When planning your estate you may have concerns about your descendants facing probate. While this process of settling your estate can be costly and time-consuming, you can take steps to ease the burden with your estate plan.
Review the factors that determine whether your Texas estate requires probate.
Types of probate
You can provide a directive in your Texas will that allows your executor to independently administer your estate outside of probate. Your executor can also request independent estate administration from the court with the approval of all your beneficiaries. With independent administration, the executor can pay estate debts and taxes, distribute property, sell assets, and otherwise settle the estate without court oversight. However, he or she must provide an estate asset inventory to the court and give notice for possible creditor claims.
Texas requires dependent estate administration if:
- You do not give permission in your will for independent estate administration.
- One or more beneficiaries do not agree to independent administration.
Texas allows certain assets to transfer directly to their new owner. Probate-exempt assets include survivor benefits from an annuity for which you named a beneficiary, life insurance proceeds with a named beneficiary and bank accounts for which you established a payable on death designation. Real estate and other assets owned with someone else either in joint tenancy or as community property also bypass probate.
In addition, if your estate has a value below $75,000, each of your beneficiaries can simply file a court affidavit to collect the inheritance if you have a will.