Top estate planning attorney Guy B. Garner, III, Senior Attorney at Haiman Hogue in Arlington, TX, details the top things you can do to avoid probate. For more information please visit https://www.haimanhogue.com
— In a recent interview, leading estate planning attorney Guy B. Garner, III, Senior Attorney at Haiman Hogue in Arlington, TX, revealed 3 things you can do to avoid probate.
For more information please visit https://www.haimanhogue.com
When asked for a comment, Garner said, “When planning for your estate, probate court proceedings are one major thing that you’d want to avoid. Probate proceedings can be long and costly, which will ultimately place undue stress on your loved ones.
Here are 3 things you can do that will help you steer clear of probate.”
Living trusts are a foolproof way of preventing probate court proceedings.
When asked to elaborate, Garner said, “When it comes to avoiding probate, using a living trust in the state of Texas is the way to go. These trusts will cover nearly any asset, including vehicles, bank accounts, and property. They’re like having a Living Lockbox that holds your assets for you, and you hold the keys to the box. Since this box never dies, the assets in it aren’t subject to the legal probate process.”
"The process of creating a good living trust is not difficult, but should be done by an experienced estate planning attorney.
While you’re alive, you transfer the ownership of the property to the trust and you are the trustee (or manager) of that trust. You assign someone to be the successor trustee after you pass away and then they hold the keys to the Lockbox after you’re gone. They then manage the trust the way you’ve outlined within the trust for them to do so. "
Garner continued by saying, “After you die, the successor trustee will be in charge of whom the assets get passed onto without having to go through the court system.”
“Another fail-safe way of avoiding probate is through joint ownership. This form of ownership is only recommended for married couples because you will become legally responsible for the other person’s mistakes. So for instance, if the other joint owner gets sued, files bankruptcy or goes through a divorce, the legal system will consider a portion of that asset available to pay the debt of the joint owner who has the legal problem. This happens more often than you would believe,” he said.
Garner added, “A much safer way to pass on assets or real estate to people other than your spouse is by completing pay on death beneficiary forms or Transfer on Death Deeds. These forms do not convey any ownership interest until the primary owner dies and the beneficiary presents a death certificate. Another advantage of these forms is that you can revoke them if you decide to change the beneficiary”.
"While this varies by state, Texas uses an ownership type called Tenants-in-Common. Tenants-in-Common DOES NOT allow for assets and property to be automatically passed on to the surviving owners. Therefore, if a husband and wife own their home as Tenants-in-Common, the surviving spouse has to go through the probate system to transfer the deceased spouse’s half over to him or her. This is why living trusts make so much sense in Texas.” Garner explained.
For bank accounts, residents can use pay-on-death designations to work around probate.
When asked to explain, Garner said, “You can get pay-on-death designations for certain accounts such as checking, savings or certificates of deposit. The forms are available from the financial institution that holds your accounts. The designation doesn’t mean that the other person is in control of your money, rather they can retrieve the money from the bank upon your death.”
“Of course, this process is direct and doesn’t require engaging in probate court proceedings,” he added.
Release ID: 88969642