Probate is the court-supervised process of settling and closing an estate, including paying remaining debts and distributing assets to heirs. However, the probate process can take months or even years to complete, and many make avoiding probate one of their primary estate planning goals. By implementing certain tools, it may be possible to avoid probate and make things easier and simpler for heirs and beneficiaries.
How to avoid probate
There are various ways a Texas adult can create an estate plan that will allow for the avoidance of the probate process. Assets held in a trust do not have to go through the probate process, and a living trust also provides one with the opportunity to set aside and control assets. Without a living trust, however, the following also avoid probate:
- Retirement accounts
- Life insurance benefits and annuities
- Joint accounts and joint titles
- Transfer-on-death provision
- Inheritance agreements
The right tools for an estate plan will depend on the details of the individual situation, as well as one’s specific objectives. Avoiding probate is often a primary estate planning goal because of the cost and complication often associated with this process.
A long-term perspective
When creating an estate plan, a Texas adult would be wise to maintain a long-term perspective. This includes making plans that will make sense well into the future. If the avoidance of probate is a primary goal, an assessment of the case with an experienced estate planning attorney can help one make plans that will provide the individual with peace of mind regarding the security of his or her long-term interests.