Our last post discussed legal procedures and steps for bringing a claim for recovery of an improperly transferred nonprobate asset in Texas. We now wrap up this series and, in doing so, underscore some key issues to consider. To recap, this series on contesting nonprobate asset transfers covered the following topics:
- Overview—Contesting Nonprobate Asset Transfers in Texas
- Texas Allows Different Types of Nonprobate Transfers
- Texas Nonprobate Transfers Are Invalid if the Deceased Person Lacked Mental Capacity or Was Unduly Influenced
- Texas Creditors May Have Rights If the Deceased Person Avoided Paying a Debt by Making Nonprobate Transfers
- The Legal Procedure for Challenging Nonprobate Transfers in Texas
- Series Recap—Contesting Nonprobate Asset Transfers in Texas
Now as we conclude, we’d like to present some quick hits that we hope you take away from this series. Please revisit our previous posts for more in-depth discussion.
-Don’t Assume It’s Too Late. Let’s say you discover that you are the sole heir of your beloved aunt’s estate. But after you open up the estate, you find that her caretaker absconded with all of her assets before her death, claiming that they were gifts. Just because your aunt died doesn’t mean that the caretaker is free to keep those assets. You may pursue recovery of those assets as the administrator or executor of her estate.
–But Watch Out for the Statute of Limitations. Texas claims are subject to statutes of limitations, which prevent claims from being filed after a certain amount of time has passed. There are many nuanced exceptions to statutes of limitations, though, so don’t assume that your claims are lost because many years have passed.
–Consider the Transferor’s Mental State. Lack of contractual capacity and undue influence are common claims for recovering improperly transferred assets. Both of these claims require an examination into the transferor’s mental state. If you have medical records or other proof of the transferor’s mental state, be sure to save them and present them to your attorney.
–Creditors Have Options to Recover Improperly Transferred Assets. Lots of folks consider creditor protection to be a fundamental purpose of estate planning. But, depending on the circumstances, that doesn’t mean that creditors are out of options if the now-deceased transferor used nonprobate transfers to empty their estate and leave the creditors empty handed. In practice, collection and recovery of assets can be difficult, though, so be sure to speak with an experienced probate attorney.
This takes us to the end of our series on contesting nonprobate transfers in Texas. If you’re considering whether to pursue a claim for recovery of improperly transferred assets or damages resulting from the same, we are here to help. The Johnson Firm’s attorneys pursue and defend nonprobate asset transfer claims on behalf of and against executors, administrators, beneficiaries, heirs, next friends, and creditors. Our lawyers serve clients throughout Texas, including Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Midland, Odessa, and Fort Worth.