When you begin the process of planning your estate, you may want to consider the impact of probate on your loved ones. With this process, the Texas court supervises the administration of your estate.
Review the requirements of probate in the Lone Star State as you develop your estate plan.
Independent vs. dependent administration
Many estates in Texas qualify for independent administration. You can specify that you prefer independent administration in your will if you name a personal representative who you trust to execute your estate without supervision. He or she must inventory your assets with the court and notify creditors, but does not need oversight to distribute property or pay estate debts.
You or your executor can request dependent administration in Texas. With this process, the court has full oversight of the executor’s settlement of the estate.
Many assets can completely bypass probate, even if the estate does not qualify for independent administration. Examples include annuity-based survivor benefits, proceeds from a life insurance policy, bank accounts with payable on death certification, and assets owned with someone else (community property or joint tenancy with right of survivorship).
If the total of your probate-exempt assets does not exceed $75,000, the executor does not have to go through probate court. Your designated beneficiaries can collect their inheritances with a simple court affidavit. Having the correct paperwork in place can facilitate a smooth transfer of property.
Think about your wishes for your estate and consider whether these wishes require probate. The answers to these questions can help you plan your estate accordingly.