Texas Probate Procedures
For people with very little probate assets such as a modest home and a small checking and savings account die without a Will, going through probate can be a waste of time and money. An easier way is for the heirs to process Small Estate Affidavit with the help of an experienced Small Estate Affidavit lawyer. Probate is a process that involves a probate court distributing an estate to the proper heirs. See also…probate attorney Austin, Tx.
Requirements To Qualify For Small Estate Affidavit
You can use a Small Estate Affidavit if the decedent died without a Will and it has been 30 days since the decedent died. Another requirement is that no other person must have applied for appointment as personal representative of the estate. The probate estate should not have a value of more than $75,000 (exempt property not included). In addition, the estate’s total non-exempt assets must exceed the total known debts of the estate (debts secured by homestead and exempt property are not included).
Exempt property includes the homestead used by the surviving spouse and children of the decedent. It also includes up to $100,000 ($50,000 for a single adult) worth of property that is used by the surviving spouse, minor children, incapacitated adult children, and unmarried children still living at home. Examples of exempt property include a limited amount of jewellery, clothes, and home furnishings.
Even if the estate qualifies for a Small Estate Affidavit, the affidavit must have a detailed list of all the decedent’s property including the community property. The person filing must also include a list of all the debts owed by the estate including the debt owed to the lawyer that prepared the affidavit. Other things that should be included in the affidavit are:
- Statement clarifying whether or not the decedent received Medicaid
- A list of the decedent’s marital history and a breakdown of how much of the estate each heir is entitled to
- All surviving heirs must swear to the affidavit in front of a notary public
- Two disinterested witnesses or witnesses that are not beneficiaries of the estate must swear to the affidavit
- The affidavit must be filed in a county with jurisdiction under the Texas Estates Code
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Creating A Living Trust To Avoid Probate
You can help your heirs or beneficiaries avoid the probate process by making a living trust. You can make a living trust for bank accounts, real estate, vehicles and virtually any real estate you own. All you need to do is create a trust document and then name someone to take over as trustee after your death. After you transfer all ownership of your property to yourself as trustee of the trust, the property will be controlled by the terms of the trust. The successor trustee will then distribute your property to heirs and beneficiaries after your death. Before you create a trust, consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer to help you meet all the requirements for setting up a living trust.
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