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Do I Have To Probate If There Was A Will?

I have addressed in another blog several steps that can be taken as part of the estate planning process that help avoid the need for probate. If those steps were not taken, a full probate still may not be needed.

I am frequently contacted after the passing of a loved one about whether a probate of the loved one's Will is necessary or not. The answer is the standard attorney's reply, "It depends." Sometimes, if your loved one has no assets that are not already disposed of by beneficiary designation or payable on death provisions, there is no need to probate a Will.

This frequently happens if the loved one had already sold the home and was residing in a nursing home, and the only assets he or she still owned were liquid assets. However, if there is real estate still owned by the deceased or oil and gas interests that are not in a trust, some form of probate may be required to transfer the assets. 

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The Average Cost Of A Determination Of Heirship Proceeding In Texas

In this series of blogs, I am outlining various different types of probates or probate alternatives to settle an estate and their likely costs. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, the cost is predominantly determined by the type of procedure followed. 

  • In Part One, I discussed probate as a muniment of title, which is usually one of the least expensive procedures.
  • In Part Two, I discussed the cost of an independent administration of the estate. Both of those procedures require the decedent to have had a Will.
  • In Part Three I discussed how if there is no will, the least expensive way to settle the estate through a court proceeding is a small estate affidavit.
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When Is A Living Trust A Waste Of Money

One of my biggest pet peeves over the years has been the over-selling of living trust packages to folks doing their estate planning. There are definitely times when a living trust is a good estate planning tool. However, for many individuals a living trust is an unnecessary expense.    

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What Is A Small Estate Affidavit Proceeding And What Does It Cost?

In this series of blogs, I am outlining various different types of probates or probate alternatives to settle an estate and their likely costs. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, the cost is predominantly determined by the type of procedure followed. 

In Part One, I discussed probate as a muniment of title, which usually is one of the least expensive procedures. In Part Two, I discussed the cost of an independent administration of the estate. Both of those procedures require the decedent to have had a will. If there is no will, the least expensive way to settle the estate through a court proceeding is a small estate affidavit.  

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When Can You Do A Small Estate Affidavit Procedure In Texas?

 

Frequently, people whose loved one dies without a Will fail to take any action to transfer property because they don’t think the estate is large enough to mess with. This leaves loose ends that must be dealt with years later, when finding the people necessary to legally make the transfer is much harder. To avoid this result, the State of Texas allows the heirs to legally transfer assets at very little expense through a procedure called a Small Estate Affidavit.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Reminds People They Are Mortal: Estate Planning Is Really Important Now

 

If you’ve listened to the news over the last two months, you’ve learned that the COVID-19 virus can strike just about anyone just about any time, regardless of how careful you are or how healthy you are. The initial presumption that COVID-19 was only a serious concern for elderly, otherwise health-compromised people has proven untrue. Because of that, I have received lots of calls from clients of all ages who suddenly realized it might be time for them to look at doing their estate planning.

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What Is A Muniment Of Title Probate, And When Is It Appropriate?

Texas law provides for a shortened, less complicated, less expensive form of probate in specific circumstances called probate as a muniment of title. This funny-sounding procedure really means that your loved one’s will is officially recognized as valid by the probate court and placed of public record as notice to third parties to honor the terms of the will for transfer of property. This is a very simple process compared to a full, regular probate.

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What Is The Cost Of A Simple Estate Planning Package

People frequently delay drawing up a will or other pieces of an estate plan because of concern for the cost. However, the cost of preparing a simple estate plan package is very reasonable. Compared to the expense to handle your estate without a will or other estate planning documents, it is a bargain.

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Why You Need A Living Will And Medical Power Of Attorney

If you have ever gone through a hospital admissions process, you’ve likely been asked if you have a living will (also known as a directive to physicians) and a medical power of attorney.

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Slick Trick In Texas To Transfer Real Estate Without Probate

Texas law allows a slick trick to transfer title to real estate you own on your death without probate. For many people, their residence or other real estate comprises the biggest part of an estate that normally would require probate to pass title. Texas law has recognized an estate planning trick that is extremely effective and low cost, called a deed with an enhanced retained life estate or “Lady Bird” deed. This tool can be used for all types of real estate interests. If you have drawn up this deed to real property prior to your death, you might be able to avoid probate entirely, if the rest of your assets have been designated with beneficiary or payable on death arrangements.

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