In a perfect world, your loved ones would enjoy easy and fast access to your assets after you die, but this is not always the case. Unless you take certain steps when working on your Texas estate plan, your beneficiaries may have to spend time and money working their way through the probate process.
Per NerdWallet, “probate” refers to the legal process involved in proving your will and distributing your assets after your death. The probate process varies somewhat from state to state, but it is often expensive and time-consuming. It is also public, but you may be able to maintain more privacy and otherwise reap the benefits of avoiding probate by taking the following steps during estate planning.
1. Make distributions now
Distributing some of your estates before your death may reduce how much of your estate has to go through probate. In some cases, reducing the size of your estate may help your loved ones avoid probate entirely.
2. Create trusts
When you place assets into a trust, those assets circumvent the probate process because they no longer belong directly to your estate. This is due to the fact that the assets you place inside the trust become the property of a named trustee, rather than you.
3. Give certain accounts “payable on death” designations
Texas allows you to add payable-upon-death designations to your bank accounts. In doing so, you allow your beneficiaries to gain prompt access to the assets in these accounts without them having to go through the probate process.
You may not be able to help your loved ones avoid the probate process completely. However, if you are unable to avoid it entirely, you may still be able to cut back on how much time and money it takes away from your beneficiaries.