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Houston Probate Law Firm

Use Estate Planning to Avoid Probate

Probate is the process of proving the validity of the decedent's will, paying off the estate's debts, and distributing the decedent's property as provided for in the will.

A probate asset is one that passes under the provisions of a will or by Texas law if a person died without a will. A non-probate asset is one that passes in accordance with a beneficiary designation or other contract.

The advantage of having non-probate assets is that they pass to your beneficiaries without the hassle of probate. Let Vicki Whitlow Thomas finds the best options for you to avoid Houston probating.

Houston Probate Lawyer

Vicki Whitlow Thomas identifies your need for non-probate assets and what options works best for you. These are some examples of non-probate assets.

With a living trust, ownership of the asset is transferred to yourself as trustee of the trust, and the property is controlled by the terms of the trust. When you die, the successor trustee transfers the property to the beneficiaries without probate proceedings. Vicki Whitlow Thomas can draft trust documents for you.

With joint ownership, if you own the property jointly with another owner and the ownership includes the right of survivorship, the surviving owner automatically owns the property when the other owner dies. Property owed in a joint tenancy also passes to the surviving owner.

Texas law allows you to add a payable-on-death (POD) designation to bank accounts. You still control all the money in the account, and the POD beneficiary has no rights to the money. When you die, the beneficiary can claim the money directly from the bank.

Texas does not allow transfer-on-death registration for securities, transfer-on-death deeds for real estate, or transfer-on-death registration for vehicles.

Vicki Whitlow Thomas helps her estates and trusts clients identify the non-probate assets that fit in their estate plans. Contact her for help to avoid probate by an experienced Houston wills attorney.

Call 877-857-3846 or use our convenient online contact form for help with probate in Houston.