Livens & Reed, PLLC

Do Texas beneficiaries need to probate a savings account?

A well-drafted will is an important part of estate planning. Even with a will in place, there are certain aspects that may be missing which may lead to probate. However, there are some exceptions to the rule and Texas beneficiaries may be able to participate in small estate administration.

In one such case, a woman left everything to her two sons, except for one small portion. She had $25,000 in her savings accounts which was not accounted for in her will. Her sons were not sure of the best way to withdraw and close out her savings account. Since there is less than $30,000 remaining in the account, the sons have the option of invoking their rights under the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act, which can give one or both sons the authority to serve as an administrator.

Since a majority of the mother's assets were passed on to the two sons as joint owners, they may opt in for a small estate administration. In comparison to the probate of a will, which obligates all of the beneficiaries to be presented a notice of a probate hearing, the small estate administration does not require any notices to be sent out. Also, the only thing needed to file is a very small fee and an affidavit with pertinent bank information.

As long as the value of an estate is less than $30,000,Texas beneficiaries may elect to do a small estate proceeding instead of a probate hearing. This process is cost effective and is a quick open-and-shut case. Having an understanding of estate proceedings can help beneficiaries save time, money and headaches in the long run.

Source:, Accessing and closing a deceased's savings account, Linda M. Toga, Nov. 20, 2013

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