How To Distribute Estate To Beneficiaries

Distribution Of Assets In A Will In Texas

Will Distribution Of Assets In TX

Before you begin distributing your estate to beneficiaries, you must understand what a Will and Probate mean.  You can describe a Will as a document that holds instructions on how your probate assets should be distributed. Probate assets have to go through probate before they are distributed to beneficiaries.

Probate is a process where a court recognizes the deceased’s person’s assets and determines how the deceased person’s debt will be paid and how their assets will be distributed. This process is called Probate. Your estate planning lawyer can help you understand how the probate process works and more questions about how to distribute estate to beneficiaries.

What Happens During Probate?

Probate Distribution Of Assets

The probate process occurs in the following steps:

  • Filing: You must file the Will and file an application for probate with the Texas probate court in the county where the deceased person resided.
  • Appointment of an executor or administrator:  An executor is nominated within the Will while an administrator is appointed by the probate court if there is no executor appointed.
  • Court hearings:  These hearings take place before a probate judge. During the hearings the judge recognizes the decedent’s death, the executor is approved to serve, and the validity of the Will is verified.
  • Publication of notice: All interested parties including creditors should be notified about the probate hearings. The notice can be published in the local newspaper.
  • Settlement of claims:  All claims from creditors and disputes from other claimants are also settled during the probate process.
  • Filings of inventory:  Both probate assets and non-probate assets are listed so that an executor can determine which assets qualify for simplified probate procedures.
  • Distributing assets to heirs:  This happens after all disputes are settled and all debts are resolved.  Only probate assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Assets such as joint accounts and assets with designated beneficiaries are not probate assets.

Can You Avoid Probate?

Distribution Of Assets After Death In TX

How To Distribute Estate To BeneficiariesProbate is a process that is handled by a probate court meaning that it requires time and money. Not everyone has the time to attend hearings and sometimes people have to pay out of their own pockets for a probate process. So, some people plan their estate specifically to avoid probate.

The easiest way to avoid probate is by dying without leaving any probate assets behind. That means not leaving any assets that you own behind. That doesn’t mean that you never owned assets when you were alive, instead, it could mean that:

  • You owned an asset jointly with your spouse. That means that asset automatically passes to your surviving spouse without going through probate
  • You had payable on death beneficiaries for your bank account
  • Your life insurance policies, annuities, IRA, and 401(K) are payable to a beneficiary of your choosing
  • Your assets are held under a trust and the trust has a named beneficiary

These are just a few estate planning strategies that turn probate assets into non-probate assets.  In some cases, non-probate assets are protected from claims from creditors or the IRS.  Just talk to an experienced estate planning attorney to help you figure out the best strategies for protecting your assets.

Your estate planning lawyer can recommend qualified financial planners and other experts that can help you in your estate planning journey.