Probate is the means by which the estate of a decedent is prepared to be distributed. Probate generally has a negative image, in large part because it can hold up distribution to anxious heirs as material matters are decided by the court. A College Station probate attorney can help you avoid probate, as well as assist if you are involved in a probate of an estate.
The Parties in a Probate Action
Despite its unpopularity, probate serves an important and necessary function, particularly when there is a dispute over the will or other matter. The parties in probate are the decedent, the beneficiaries, and the executor. As your College Station probate attorney will tell you, the worst situation is when a decedent dies intestate, or without a will. It then goes to the probate judge to decide how assets and real property owned by the decedent should be distributed. This can be very much at variance with the desired outcome.
Assets That Are Not Subject to Probate
Some assets can be transferred to beneficiaries without the need for probate. This generally is possible when the decedent worked with a College Station probate attorney to plan the estate in order to avoid taxes and probate. Some assets that do not need to pass through probate are:
- Assets held in a living trust
- Community property with a right of survivorship
- Proceeds from a life insurance policy
- Benefits from an annuity
- Joint-tenancy property with right of survivorship
- Bank accounts that are payable on death
The two types of probate are independent and dependent administration. Dependent administration is less often used, and requires the executor to post a bond as well as request permission from the probate court on most matters pertaining to the estate. Independent administration, on the other hand, enjoys much more authority to make decisions about the handling of the estate without prior approval from the court.
A College Station probate attorney Can Help
If you are involved with the probate of an estate, it is important that you work with a College Station probate attorney who can help you through the process. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014.