ownership transfer paperNobody looks forward to a lengthy, costly probate proceeding following a loved one’s passing. Thankfully Texas law provides several options to reduce the time and expense of court—or even avoid it entirely. Many of these options may be categorized as non-probate transfers, also known as non-testamentary transfers. You can set up these transfers during your lifetime to automatically transfer property upon death. By utilizing non-probate transfers in Texas, you may be able to avoid legal proceedings like the probate of a will or an heirship determination.

In fact, depending on your situation, you may be able to avoid probate altogether. This series will help you assess whether non-probate transfers can relieve the burden of formal court proceedings. With enough planning, the post-death transfer of property can be quick, easy, and inexpensive. That said, there are many traps, claims, and challenges that can disrupt your planning and lead to unintended consequences.

This series will discuss the following topics:

  1. Transferring Bank, Retirement, and Investment Accounts Automatically Upon Death in Texas
  2. Distributing Other Texas Property Without Going to Probate Court
  3. Conflicts and Claims that Challenge Texas Non-Probate Transfers
  4. Non-probate Transfer Traps that May Ruin Your Plans

The passing of a loved one will always be a difficult time. To say the least, it’s a recipe for lots of stress. Practical concerns related to estate distribution can complicate and compound the stress. Thankfully, some practical difficulties can be reduced through non-probate transfers. In a typical probate estate proceeding, you must hire a probate attorney, file an application with the probate court, schedule and attend a hearing, publish notices, and file inventories with the court. Non-probate transfers can avoid that time and expense. This series will examine whether non-probate transfers may ease your loved ones’ transition and save them time and expense.

In the next post, we address the most common non-probate transfers—bank account designations that allow accounts to pass automatically upon death. Afterwards, we will discuss various ways to transfer other types of property without the need of a probate court. We’ll then discuss some of the potential problems that can reduce the ease—or even the validity—of non-probate transfers. We will then highlight some tips and finer points to avoid unforeseen circumstances. Finally, we will recap this series and summarize some of the more important points.

Our Dallas probate attorneys assist and advise clients with pursuing and challenging non-probate transfers across the state of Texas. the various parties who participate in guardianship proceedings in the DFW area and across Texas. Our offices also service Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Denton, Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, and Center. Please contact us today if you have any questions about your estate plan or a potential claim to a non-probate asset.