Many Texas residents will set up their estate plan in a way to avoid probate as much as possible. The probate process can be tedious and intimidating at the best of times, especially after the death of a loved one.
Unfortunately, certain circumstances can make avoiding probate difficult. It’s not the end of the world if your estate plan ends up in probate, but it’s important to know why it can happen.
If there’s no designated beneficiaries on important accounts
The reason estate planning is so important is that it makes it easier for all of your belongings to go to your loved ones – known as beneficiaries – after your death.
Estate planning is more than just writing a will though. Most bank accounts – such as Health Savings Accounts or IRAs – require you to designate a beneficiary in case something happens. If you have no beneficiaries listed on these accounts, they’ll have to go to probate court to settle it.
If the assets are solely in the deceased names
Property that’s owned under one person’s name and has no payable on death designation will automatically trigger the probate process. Even if you’ve left the property to your children or other beneficiaries in your will, it’s still important to set up that designation.
Your will isn’t valid
Having a valid last will and testament is important for all of your final wishes to be properly carried out. There’s a formal process that a last will and testament have to go through to be considered “valid.”
Most last wills and testaments have to be signed by a witness and certified by a lawyer or court. If your will doesn’t meet these requirements, then it’s likely that your estate will go to probate or a relative will dispute it.
You and your family must take the time to set up your wills and estate plans correctly. Working with a legal team can help you avoid these pitfalls and avoid the probate process altogether.