Livens & Reed, PLLC

Try to avoid probate litigation

Many Texas residents believe that a simple will is sufficient to ensure that their wishes will be honored after their passing. However, estates often land in the probate process when a will is disputed. This process is very time-consuming and can be very costly. Experts offer some suggestions to help one's heirs potentially avoid probate litigation.

One recommendation is to establish a living trust. This method may be more complex, but it is also more comprehensive in its coverage. Three people must be involved – the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiaries. A successor to take over the trust after the grantor dies should also be named. This person will see that the estate is distributed as the grantor specified.

Joint ownership is another method suggested by financial experts. If an asset is owned jointly, when one person dies, the asset will pass to the other. However, it may be worthwhile to consider going further than joint ownership. Seeking joint tenancy with right of survivorship provides more protection against probate.

A beneficiary can be added to many types of assets. If so, upon death, an asset could immediately go to the beneficiary. By having the asset be established to transfer upon death or be payable on death, it will likely avoid being contested in the probate process.

When estates are planned, a primary objective is typically to ensure that distribution to heirs is conducted according to specific directives. It is important to contact a Texas estate planning attorney to develop the appropriate documents to help loved ones avoid the probate process. Also, if someone is currently dealing with probate issues, an experienced lawyer can fight to protect his or her inheritance.

Source:, "3 Ways to Keep Your Estate out of Probate -- The Motley Fool", Wendy Connick, March. 25, 2017

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