When planning your estate in Texas, you must have an understanding of the state’s probate laws. These regulations determine how the court will treat your will after your death.
Review the provisions about probating a will in Texas during your estate planning process.
The court will transfer certain assets in your estate without probate, including:
- Benefits from an annuity or life insurance account
- Payable-on-death investment accounts and bank accounts that have a named beneficiary
- Community or joint tenancy property with established right of survivorship (a house you own with your spouse, for example)
Independent estate administration
When you write your will, you can give your executor approval to pursue independent administration. Texas offers this streamlined probate process, which allows your executor to administer many aspects of the estate without court approval. For example, he or she can distribute assets, sell assets, create a family allowance or pay debts on behalf of the estate. However, the executor must still file an estate asset inventory with the court and give notice to possible estate creditors.
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If you have a valid will, your estate may also qualify for this simplified Texas probate process. Your estate must have no outstanding Medicaid claims and unpaid debts except for secured mortgages to be eligible. Any family member can file your will with the court to start this process.
Texas limits dependent estate administration, which requires more comprehensive court supervision, to cases in which beneficiaries do not agree to the independent administration process. If that applies to your estate, the court will refer the executor to formal probate.