Simplifying probate in Texas
Losing a loved one is stressful and if you are appointed as executor, this stress is amplified due to your new responsibilities. You may be intimidated by the probate process, and you may wonder if there is any way to make it easier.
A simplified probate process
There is a simplified probate process in Texas: independent administration. Independent administration of the estate is less costly, quicker and easier than going through the formal probate process.
In an independent administration, the executor is not required to post a bond. In addition, the executor does not need judicial permission to settle the estate. Such acts include paying debts, designating family allowances, selling assets and distributing assets to the deceased’s heirs.
A notice must still be published so that potential creditors can be aware of your loved one’s death. In addition, an inventory of assets still must be filed with the court. Also, the executor is still responsible for collecting and protecting assets until they can be distributed to the proper heirs.
Not all assets need to be probated
Some of your loved one’s assets can bypass probate altogether. These include community property with the right of survivorship, such as a marital home. If your home is held as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, it too can bypass probate. Financial accounts designated as payable-on-death bypass probate. Life insurance bypasses probate. Finally, survivor’s benefits from an annuity bypass probate.
Probate does not need to be intimidating
It is important to recognize that probate matters do not need to be intimidating. You may be able to pursue a simplified probate process and some of your loved one’s assets do not have to be probated at all. This can make probate much more approachable.