Probate court can be a long, costly, and confusing process. Imagine that one of your loved ones has just died. The last thing that you probably want to do is worry about whether the court is going to distribute their estate properly. That’s why so many people want to avoid probate in Texas.
Want to keep your estate out of court? In Texas, you have a few different options.
Joint Ownership of Property
One of the benefits of owning property jointly is that when one of the owners passes away, the other doesn’t have to worry about that piece of property going to someone else after probate. The catch is that you have to have “rights of survivorship,” or else the property could be subject to a court decision.
Texas has two forms of joint ownership that include these rights—joint tenancy and survivorship community property.
Joint tenancy is useful for couples (no marriage necessary) who want to own property together. Real estate, automobiles, bank accounts and other property can be owned in a joint tenancy. To avoid probate in Texas with a joint tenancy, couples must sign a joint tenancy agreement.
Survivorship community property operates in much the same way, though it is exclusively for married couples.
Bank Account Payable on Death Designation
Texas also allows bank account holders to designate someone to receive their money after they die. Known as a payable on death designation, this way of avoiding probate allows account holders to control their money while knowing that it won’t go through probate if they pass away.
Real Estate Transfer on Death Deed
Also known as beneficiary deeds, transfer on death deeds for real estate gives home and business owners the option to transfer their real estate to someone else following their death. Property owners can revoke the deed or sell the property whenever they want as this deed does not take effect until they are deceased.
Living trusts are a great way to avoid probate in Texas. Nearly any sort of property can be protected by a trust, so it’s a great way for property owners to transfer houses, cars, bank accounts, and other valuable assets to their beneficiaries without getting the court involved. All you have to do is create the trust, name a successor trustee, and give yourself ownership of the property within the trust. After all that is done, the property will follow the rules of the trust, so be sure to speak to an experienced attorney before creating a living trust. Upon your death, the property will transfer to the successor trustee who can then distribute the property to your beneficiaries without going through probate.
Want to Avoid Probate in Texas? Get in Touch with Us Today.
It’s never too early to start estate planning. Contact us today so that we can create an estate plan that fits your needs and that helps you avoid probate in Texas.