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Texas estate planning need not work to avoid probate

Readers in Texas may be interested to learn about a recent article that considered the estate planning process in Texas. The article dealt with probate and noted that in our state, the process can be completed in relatively quick order. This is a surprise to many here that thought that if they allowed their assets to pass by will that they created while estate planning, their heirs would be subject to long waits due to the court process.

In fact, the article notes that for people in states like Texas, the probate process may be a good choice. When a person dies with a will in place, the court is asked to step in and begin probate. The court then reviews the directives of the will and all available assets and liabilities. Once the liabilities are paid, remaining assets can be distributed to those directed in the will. This often occurs in well less than a year.

In addition, creditors are limited in the amount of time that they have to make a claim against the estate in the probate process. Without the probate, creditors can, in some cases, have years in which to claim money that the deceased owed. The time is much shorter when the liability is subject to probate, benefiting those who stand to inherit from a will that was created in the estate planning process.

Because there are so many different reasons that people In Texas consider estate planning, it can do well for them to complete several steps before starting the process. This effort helps to ensure that the best outcome is achieved. For example, some estates are better served through the use of both a trust and a will, while others consider adding powers of attorney, healthcare directives and more complicated trust to their estate plan. The good news is that there are tools available that can benefit every size of estate and that each can be customized to fit a person's needs.

Source: lifehealthpro.com, 6 reasons why probate isn't that bad, Tom Nawrocki, Sept. 13, 2013

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