People in Texas who are creating an estate plan may want to consider whether they want the estate to go through probate. The process can be time-consuming and expensive. It may interfere with the speed with which beneficiaries receive their inheritance. Another potential disadvantage of probate is that it is a public process. Furthermore, if a person owns property in more than one state, there may be a probate process in those states as well.
There are a few ways to avoid probate. One is by using beneficiary designations. These are used for assets such as life insurance and retirement plans. A living trust may also be a way for an estate to avoid probate.
However, avoiding probate is not the right choice for everyone. Some people prefer a more public process because it can help ensure that everything remains above board. The executor is subject to public scrutiny if necessary, and a complaint can be filed with the court if someone is unhappy with the administration. On the other hand, since titles to assets are certified by the court, it is more difficult for people to make challenges to ownership. Ultimately, many people use a combination of tools that avoid probate for some assets while other parts of the estate go through the process.
A person who has been appointed executor of an estate might want to contact an attorney to discuss estate administration and probate. Even if there are no serious issues with the paperwork or with challenges from beneficiaries, the process may be a complex one. The executor may need to pay outstanding debts on the estate and even outstanding debts belonging to some beneficiaries before they can receive distributions. An attorney may also be able to advise as to what an executor should do if there are challenges or other complexities.