The Texas probate courts facilitate the administration of any estates of those who have died as residents of the state. The probate courts help interpret and enforce state law and oversee the administration of estates to reduce mistakes and conflict.
Probate proceedings can have a negative impact on the total value of an estate. People may spend thousands of dollars on court and other probate expenses. Ultimately, those costs will diminish what heirs and beneficiaries receive from the estate.
For some individuals planning their estates, avoiding probate is a priority. When is probate necessary under Texas law?
Most estates require at least some probate oversight
Texas generally requires that any property owned by someone who died to pass through probate. However, there can be much more intensive probate proceedings when the estate contains bigger and more complex property, including real estate and businesses. Smaller, less complicated estates can qualify for faster proceedings with less court involvement.
Estates worth more than $75,000 require careful probate court oversight, while smaller estates may be subject to more streamlined probate proceedings. Interpreting a will may require the help of the probate courts, as could handling an intestate estate with no clear estate plan or will. When someone dies without an estate plan, the courts can help ensure the executor distributes their property in accordance with state law.
How do people avoid probate?
Proper estate planning is the key to minimizing the involvement of the probate courts with an estate. Leaving behind testamentary documents ensures that the estate won’t be subject to intestate succession laws. Instead, you retain control over what happens to your property. You can make some of those adjustments now to limit probate involvement with your estate after you die.
Property that transfers to others immediately at the time of someone’s death and property held in trust usually won’t require probate oversight. Diminishing the assets directly in your name can be one way to keep your biggest belongings out of probate court.
Advanced planning to minimize probate involvement can also sometimes help people preserve their property from creditors or Medicaid estate recovery efforts. Learning more about the Texas probate requirements can help you draft an estate plan that achieves your goals.