How does probate work?
Types of Probate in Texas
Texas offers various probate options depending on the estate's complexity and the deceased person's specific circumstances.
The primary probate types include:
The most common type of probate in Texas, independent administration grants the executor considerable autonomy in managing the estate without court supervision, making the process more efficient and cost-effective.
In this type of probate, the court closely supervises the administrator's actions, requiring approval for most decisions. This process is more time-consuming and expensive but is used when there are disputes or concerns about the estate.
Muniment of Title
If there is a valid will and no significant debts other than those secured by real estate, the estate may qualify for this streamlined probate process, which involves transferring title to property without full administration.
Small Estate Affidavit
For estates with a value of $75,000 or less (excluding homestead and exempt property), a small estate affidavit allows for asset distribution without going through the formal probate process.
Determination of Heirship
If a person dies without a will, this court proceeding identifies the legal heirs and their respective shares of the estate.
Importance of a Will in Texas Probate
Having a valid will is crucial to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. A will allows you to:
Intestate Succession in Texas
Probate can be a lengthy and costly process, so it's often beneficial to take steps to avoid it when possible. Common methods of avoiding probate in Texas include:
Although Texas does not impose a state-level estate or inheritance tax, federal estate taxes may apply to larger estates. As of 2023, the federal estate tax exemption is $12.92 million ($25.84 million per married couple), subject to change in future years. Estates exceeding this exemption amount are subject to federal estate taxes.
Proper estate planning can help simplify the probate process and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Here are some tips for effective estate planning in Texas:
Navigating the Texas probate process can be a daunting task, but understanding the different probate types and the importance of a valid will can help you make informed decisions about your estate planning. By proactively planning and working with an estate planning law firm like McCammon Law in Boerne, TX, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and minimize the burden on your loved ones during a challenging time.
Boerne/San Antonio Office
138 Old San Antonio Rd.
Boerne, TX 78006