There are a lot of misconceptions out there about probate. Don’t let yourself to fall victim to “false” information. Knowing the correct answers to the 6 most common misconceptions before you begin your role as the executor or administrator is a must!
1. Probate can take years to complete. Misleading.
The Texas Probate Code makes it as painless as possible. If everything is in order, you will be in front of the judge for a maximum of five to 10 minutes. The entire process can take as little as 30 days to complete with a Will. But, disputes can cause delays in the administration of an estate.
2. I have to avoid probate at all costs. False.
Although this may be true in other states, under the Texas Probate Code, the state of Texas has adopted a simplified probate process.
3. Probate costs a great deal of money and attorneys charge anywhere from 3 to 10 percent or more to probate your estate. False.
An attorney cannot charge a percentage of the total estate as their fee. In most instances, an attorney will base their fee on an hourly charge or a reasonable set fee. The costs associated with the probate process in Texas are extremely reasonable compared to some other states.
4. A living trust is the only way to avoid probate. False.
Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, Payable on Death accounts (POD) and multiple party accounts with financial institutions are common ways of avoiding probate. However, you should always consult with a qualified estate planning attorney before making decisions regarding estate planning.
5. I can go to the store or online and pick up a “Do-It-Yourself Will Kit.” Not recommended.
Is your motive to pinch a few pennies? Many Will kits do not meet all of the requirements of a properly executed Will that disposes of all of your property in Texas. Many Will kits do not have the proper provisions necessary for each state. Doing it yourself is risky. You can cause more problems for yourself and your family by not doing it correctly. You will end up needing the help of an attorney to unravel any mistakes and it may be too late and your loved ones are left with the task. Hiring a qualified estate planning attorney is your best choice when preparing a Will. Why cut corners doing it yourself to save a few dollars when you can have it done properly.
6. ANY attorney can help me with probate. False.
You need an attorney who is qualified in the area of probate to make sure that the laws are properly adhered to and that the local probate court rules are followed.
Having the right attorney to guide you through can make the probate process easier than you think!
We also offer a free book that gives additional information about the probate process. Request it here.