For most people, the probate process is a confusing and challenging process, especially when they are still grieving a loved one. However, probate courts play a vital role by ensuring that the decedent’s estate is administered correctly. This oversight can protect the estate and ensure that assets are distributed according to the law. That being said, protecting your rights throughout the process is essential.
Hiring a Round Rock probate lawyer is the best way to safeguard your best interests. Whether you are looking ahead and wish to protect your estate or want to protect your interests in another’s estate, an experienced Round Rock probate attorney from Robbins Estate Law can help. We have years of experience navigating probate and can guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today.
What Is Probate?
In Texas, probate is the official legal process of overseeing the distribution of assets in a decedent’s estate. The process involves the court authenticating a will, if there is one, ensuring all debts are paid, and distributing all assets to beneficiaries. If there is no will, the court will distribute the estate according to Texas intestate succession laws.
How involved the court will be in an estate’s administration will depend on the circumstances.
Sometimes the court must micromanage every transaction made by the estate. For other estates, the court simply appoints or approves an administrator and lets them take care of the rest. How the decedent organized their estate before their death determines the level of the court’s involvement.
When Can an Estate Avoid Probate?
Many estates can avoid the most demanding aspects of the probate process. Further, many assets bypass probate altogether.
When writing a will, people can choose independent or dependent estate administration. Independent administration involves appointing an executor to carry out the terms of the estate without being micromanaged by the court. During dependent administration, the court must approve most transactions. Most people choose independent administration because it can save their beneficiaries significant time and money.
In some cases, beneficiaries can choose to forego probate by filing a small estate affidavit. To file a small estate affidavit, the estate’s total value must be $75,000 or less. Exempt property, homestead property, and any other assets not subject to probate are not included when calculating the full value of the estate. Additionally, there can not be a will.
Finally, some assets are exempt from the probate process. If an estate is entirely made up of non-probate assets, it can avoid probate. Assets that can avoid probate include the following:
- Life estates,
- Transfer on death accounts,
- Pay on death accounts,
- Property owned as a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship,
- Retirement accounts, and
- Life insurance policies.
An attorney can help you organize your estate to avoid the most costly and time-consuming aspects of probate so that you can save your beneficiaries time and money.
How Much Does Probate Cost?
It is difficult to predict how much probate will cost without an in-depth understanding of an estate. Every estate is unique. Factors that can come into play for some estates are entirely irrelevant to others. Different factors that affect the cost of probate include:
- How the estate plan is configured,
- The value of the estate,
- The types of assets the estate holds,
- The location where the estate property is located,
- The level of court involvement,
- The number of creditors the estate has, and
- Whether the will is contested.
It is also crucial to consider the cost to your beneficiaries in time and heartache. Unclear estate plans can lead to significant conflict among your beneficiaries. When a will is contested, relationships can be permanently harmed. Further, having an estate linger in the probate court can interrupt the mourning process and cause uncertainty for your loved ones. A skilled probate lawyer in Round Rock can help you avoid these issues by helping you craft a clear, thorough, and enforceable estate plan.
Contesting a Will in Texas
An interested party can legally contest a will by filing a lawsuit in Texas. Contesting a will is a complicated process. Valid reasons to contest a will include:
- Undue influence,
- Mistakes in the will,
- Lack of testamentary capacity,
- Improper execution of the will, and
- Revocation of the will.
An experienced Round Rock probate lawyer can help determine if contesting a will is the best course of action for you. They can also minimize the risk of a will being contested if you are planning your estate.
Round Rock Probate Attorney
If you need a probate lawyer in Texas, Robbins Estate Law can help. Probate is a stressful process, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Whether you’re an estate administrator, beneficiary, or an interested party who wants to contest a will, our experienced attorneys can guide you through the probate process and protect your rights. Schedule a consultation with Robbins Estate Law today so we can help you with your probate needs.