Many residents of Houston own some sort of property that is either jointly held or otherwise not intended to pass through the probate process. Joint bank accounts, life insurance, stocks, retirement plans, and the like rarely go to a person's estate after the person dies. Instead, the property will pass to the named beneficiary or to the joint owners of the account.
As a previous post explained, there are also many ways in which a person can ensure that a family home or other piece of property gets handed down to the next generation without having to go through probate. All of these types of property can pass outside of the probate process even without person needing to create a trust.
However, just because the law gives people the power to hold and hand on this type of property, it does not mean that wills and other estate planning documents are not important. Non-probate property should be carefully considered in any Houston resident's estate planning process.
At a minimum, a person needs to look over these items from time to time to make sure they understand how the property will be dealt with after they die. For instance, they should make sure they have the named beneficiary correct, because the person listed as such will get the property without regard to what a will or trust document says.
Our law office does not ignore this type of non-probate property when giving estate planning advice but rather takes it in to account fully. We help our clients come up with a suitable estate plan, using wills and other documents, that will ensure that their property will be transferred to their loved ones as efficiently and as effectively as possible.