Georgetown Texas Probate, Estates & Heirship Attorney
What is “probate” and what purpose does probate serve, you may ask.
Probate is the umbrella term for the legal process that legally transfers title to assets from a deceased person’s estate to the deceased individual’s beneficiaries under a Last Will & Testament or to the Heirs in the even there is no Will.
Without doing probate, a title company will not close on a sale, refinance, or home equity loan on a house because, when the person dies who owns the property, that is a break in the chain of title that is only fixed by some form of probate process.
Call or email our Georgetown Texas Probate lawyer for help with your probate issue.
In the world of probate, there is more than one way to “skin a cat,” as it is said. There are different options available depending on the unique circumstances of the case at hand.
- Probate of Last Will & Testament: This is by far the preferred method of probate. The appointed Executor to the Will in the Georgetown, Texas area is charged with the task of carrying out the terms of the Will and distributing the property to the beneficiaries. This process clears up title to real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, and anything else.
- Heirship & Administration:
This is the process you undertake when there was no Will left by the decedent. There are statutes in Texas that control who gets what and in what shares of a person’s estate who die without a Will. This is not as desirable as when there is a Will, just because it (a) requires more signatures from other family members to move forward, (b) is more costly due to extra paperwork and Attorney Ad Litem fees, and (3) by and large, heirship does not do much for a second spouse when the deceased spouse had children from a prior marriage.
Heirship & Administration is a two-step process, and you should seek the representation of a qualified Georgetown, Texas probate lawyer near you. Heirs are legally defined as those individuals who stand to take property from someone’s estate if they die without a Will.
So, the first step in a Judicial Determination of Heirship is to have the Court declare who the rightful heirs are to the property and what percentage of the property passes to them.
The second step in a Judicial Determination of Heirship is the Administration of the deceased’s estate. This term essentially defines the Administration as the legal process of allowing the Personal Representative (i.e. Administrator) to access and distribute the deceased’s property.
- Small Estate Affidavit:
This is another probate method that does not involve appointment of a personal representative of the Estate, and can only be used to transfer property when there is only one piece of real estate (i.e. the homestead) and non-exempt assets of less than $75,000.
A flow chart assists with graphical representation of when you can use a Small Estate Affidavit with your representation by a knowledgeable Georgetown probate and estates attorney.
- Alternatives to Probate:
There are ways to avoid probate altogether. Some people find this advantageous and plan ahead with a skilled Georgetown, Texas probate attorney to set up their estate so probate is not necessary. Here are some common examples:Revocable Living Trust: a person can avoid probate altogether by utilizing a Revocable Living Trust. This is done by making it to where, when the individual passes away, there are no assets left in his/her name, and therefore no need to probate anything.Asset Transfer: a persona can transfer probatable assets during his/her lifetime (e.g. a Deed) to avoid probate. A lot of people find this undesirable because of the loss of ownership and control over the property transferred. But, nonetheless, it is a method to avoid probate.
Nontestamentary Transfers: practically every account in any kind of financial institution can be set up to transfer automatically upon death. This is done by beneficiary designations or rights of survivorship. Joint bank accounts almost always have an automatic right of survivorship to the account assets (meaning that the last man standing is the outright owner of the assets). Life insurance policies, 401(k)s, IRAs, and any account in a financial institution (i.e. bank, investment, or brokerage accounts) can be designated as POD (payable on death) to a designated beneficiary.
Probating or planning your estate to avoid probate can be a daunting process. If you are looking for a Georgetown Probate Attorney “near me,” then you should get in touch with our office.
Our Georgetown, Texas Address is as follows:
601 Quail Valley Rd., Suite 18
Georgetown, Texas 78626
Contact us today to beging to get your answers.