Probate can be a long and arduous process. Beneficiaries may be left waiting for an extended period of time before assets in an estate are released by the probate court for distribution, thus causing undue hardship. If you are concerned about a lengthy probate you should consult your College Station probate lawyers. For some estates a shortcut may be available.
The Size of the Estate Is a Significant Factor
Texas legislators have worked to simplify the probate process for estates that meet certain criteria. The main one is a matter of size. So-called probate shortcuts have been designed mainly for small estates. This is necessary, for a large, Texas-sized estate can be full of complicating factors that render a shortcut impractical, if not impossible. That said, if the estate in question is small, a long probate may not be necessary.
Two Probate Shortcuts to Consider
If you are concerned about the prospect of facing a lengthy probate, discuss the matter with your attorney. The Texas Probate Code allows for a simpler probate for certain estates, and the one in question may well pass muster. Here are two shortcuts:
- Simplified Probate: A simplified probate process has been developed for certain small estates. The criteria include that the property value does not exceed the assets that will be necessary to pay off creditors and provide a designated family allowance. In order to obtain a simplified probate, the executor must file a request in writing with the probate court. If the court deems that the estate meets the qualifying criteria, it will authorize that the probate process be skipped. The executor is authorized to distribute assets according to the instructions in the will.
- Out-of-Court Affidavit: This process is for small estates that meet the following conditions—there is a homestead on the property, no legal will exists, and the value of the estate, excluding certain exemptions, is below a certain level. As of 2014 this maximum is $50,000. In order to avoid probate using this process, an individual who stands to inherit from the estate files an affidavit with the bank or other entity. A copy of the death certificate must be included. When all necessary documents are received by the bank, it releases the account or property.
Work with an Attorney if You Wish to Avoid Probate
Probate is necessary for the majority of estates. However, if the estate in question is relatively small and meets certain criteria as discussed, there is a possibility of circumventing a costly and lengthy probate. It is in your best interests to work with College Station probate lawyers to ensure that you avoid mistakes. Call Peterson Law Group today to arrange a consultation at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.