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How Estate Planning Can Help You Avoid Probate

The probate process in Texas can take months or possibly a year to complete, leaving your loved ones in a state of uncertainty until it is finished. But you can reduce much of that uncertainty today by creating a strong estate plan with the help of attorney Lori Watson, founder of the Law Office of Lori Watson. She has practiced law in Texas for over two decades and understands delicate family dynamics because she has also guided families through divorce and other aspects of family law. Taking the time to have Ms. Watson draft a comprehensive estate plan for you is a gift to your family – offering additional peace of mind to them when they are grieving you.

The Relationship Between Probate And Estate Planning

The easiest way to remember the relationship between estate planning and probate is this: estate planning is what you do to document your final wishes. Probate is the process in which the state engages to determine who should get your assets. If you die with a will in place, the goal of probate is to validate it and appoint an estate administrator to follow the distribution plan outlined in your will. If you die without a will (intestate), the court evaluates your estate during probate and directs the estate administrator to distribute your assets according to Texas’ laws of intestacy.

Steps To Take During Estate Planning To Avoid Probate

Good estate planning, while you’re living, goes a long way to ensure your wishes will be carried out after you’re gone. Some of the steps you can take to keep assets out of probate include:

  • Create a trust. Assets placed in a trust often can pass directly to loved ones without being probated.
  • Designate beneficiaries for your retirement accounts, savings accounts or your life insurance policies.
  • Set up “payable upon death” accounts for bank accounts and name a beneficiary.
  • Title your property so it is jointly owned with the right of survivorship. Assets that are titled this way can pass directly to another owner without probate.

Depending on the size and complexity of your estate, some assets may still have to be probated, even with proactive estate planning. Ms. Watson can advise you on what to expect.

Learn More At Your Initial Consultation

Have additional questions about estate planning? Call the Georgetown office of the Law Office of Lori Watson today at 737-359-3024 and schedule your initial consultation. Ms. Watson serves clients across Central Texas, including the greater Austin metro area and Williamson County.