Probate Law and Estate Planning
Bray, Chappell & Patterson, Inc. can help you prepare your will and other estate planning matters so that Probate is simple.
“I’ve heard horror stories about a probate court that tied up the estate’s assets for years.”
Probate laws differ from state to state. The following information applies to residents of Texas.
First of all, you should remember that the horror stories are just that — horror stories. They are the most grievous examples from among many different experiences. If you leave no will and your heirs don’t cooperate, the probate of your estate may very likely be a nightmare. But in Texas, probate can be very simple if you leave a properly drafted will.
You may have heard that a living trust can avoid probate. A living trust requires that none of your assets are in your name at death. If you have vigilantly transferred everything you own to the trust, the distribution of your assets at death will be handled under trust law, instead of under probate law. In some states, probate fees are so high that the cost and inconvenience of living trusts may be justified. However, in Texas, the cost of probate for a properly drawn Texas will is far less than the typical costs of preparing and administering living trusts.
The state of Texas is not interested in tying up your assets. It should be thought of more as a service that the state offers to help the heirs clear title to assets. Most banks and other institutions will not release assets or funds to the heirs of the account owner, because they are afraid of being sued if someone lies to them about being an heir. An order from a probate court will protect them from this liability. The Texas probate system is designed to help the rightful heirs obtain such an order as easily as possible, while still preventing fraud by impostors.
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If you would like more information or wish to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact us.
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