As one ages, mortality becomes an important issue. The individual often begins to consider what will happen with and to loved ones upon his or her death. Furthermore, the Texas resident usually addresses the inheritance that each of these loved ones should receive as a part of the estate planning process. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood parts of the estate planning process is probate.
In its basic form, probate is simply the process in which the personal representative acknowledges to the court that proper legal proceedings were followed and the wishes of the individual as indicated in the will were complied with. Every once in a while, a will is contested, thus adding to the probate process. However, the majority of wills are uncontested, and the personal representative is able to see to it that the estate is settled.
As a part of the process, a personal representative is named; this is usually done by the testator when making the will. Upon the death of the testator, the personal representative accounts for all property owned by the individual. This representative then reviews and pays any debts owed by the estate. Finally, remaining assets are transferred to those individual designated as heirs in the will.
For some Texas residents, the fact that the probate process is a matter of court record is an area of concern. As such, depending upon the manner in which property is held, it is possible to avoid the probate process. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist the individual in understanding the process and determining how to best plan for these concerns.
Source: estate.findlaw.com, "The Probate Basics", Accessed on May 24, 2017