Transferring assets outside of the probate process can not only save the estate a lot of time and expense, but can also help loved ones avoid years of legal hassle. This 2 part series of articles will address the four general ways to pass on your property and avoid the probate system:
Part 1 in this series addressed avoiding the probate process through Joint Property Ownership and Death Beneficiaries. Part 2 in this series will address avoiding the probate process through Revocable Living Trusts and Gifts.
A revocable living trust occurs when you transfer property to someone else (the trustee) to hold it for your benefit, but you reserve the right to revoke the trust. This means that the trustee actually owns the property, but must use it for your benefit under the terms and conditions of the trust.
By giving ownership of the property to the trustee, the property is no longer a part of your estate and can avoid the probate process entirely. You can instruct the trustee that, upon your death, he or she should transfer the property to your family and friends. This effectively transfers property without going through probate.
Trusts are set up in formal documents, much like a will, so make sure that you are complying with your state's requirements for a trust when setting one up.
Finally, one of the most obvious but often overlooked ways to avoid probate is to simply give your property away before your death. This requires a certain amount of planning and forethought, and even the best plans may be thwarted by unseen circumstances. As a result, you should generally only consider using gifts to avoid probate on smaller, less valuable assets. Also be aware that gift taxes apply if the gift is in excess of a certain amount, so this is typically a good option only if the asset is below the gift tax threshold.
Not sure how to avoid the probate process or if you even should? Don't worry. Many people have similar questions and go through the same line of questioning when deciding how to make their estate plan. It can be and often is critical that you get legal help understanding the basics of the probate process. The best way to get this understanding is to contact an experienced probate and estate administration attorney near you. Stop and take a breath and call a probate attorney who has had decades of experience filing for probate in the state of Texas. Pick up the phone and call Amarillo Attorney Bill Cornett. Bill is your choice as an experienced probate attorney in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. Don’t waste another minute. Call him today.
Your most important action may end up being the phone call that you make to your Amarillo wrongful death lawyer. In the Texas Panhandle that call should be to Amarillo wrongful death lawyer Bill Cornett. Be safe and be smart…remember these phone numbers (806) 374-9498 or (800) 658-6618.
Bill Cornett, Amarillo Attorney with Cornett Law Firm, offers affordable, qualified services as an experienced personal injury lawyer, probate attorney, family law attorney, criminal law attorney, DWI attorney and divorce attorney. Bill also has experience in estate planning and agriculture law. Sit down with Bill at his office located at 612 S. Van Buren St. in Amarillo TX by calling (806) 374-9498 or (800) 658-6618 TODAY to schedule a free consultation.
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Bill Cornett grew up on a farm in Knox City, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law School. Bill was licensed to practice law in the State of Texas in 1973.