Basics of Probate, Part I

Houston Attorneys Explain the Basics of Probate

 Introduction to Probate Basics:

Probate is known as the process of transference of property when an individual passes away.  It is interesting to note:  even though the laws of probate have changed, over the decades, the original intent of it is the same.  The concept is:  persons officially provide their wishes as to the transference of their personal property and real property at the time of their respective passing.  The preceding action is generally handled by way of a Last Will and Testament.  Additionally, the individual provides information within the preceding legal document how debts are to be paid out of the estate as well as how his or her property is to be formally distributed.

The Administration of Probate:

The process of probate is one that is supervised by the court.  It is set up to properly allocate the transfer of the individual’s property, again, upon his or her passing.  The property which is subjected to the process of probate is what is owned by the person upon his or her passing away; and which does not pass to other individuals by ownership or by way of official designation.  Examples of the preceding include bank accounts and life insurance contracts.

Some persons are familiar with the typical expression of probating a will.  The expression is a term applied to the process by which an individual demonstrates to the court that the decedent followed all legal protocol in the drafting of his Last Will and Testament.  Persons hear time and time again how to avoid the process of probate.  The idea behind avoiding probate is mainly the conceptualization of avoiding the fees associated with the process.

There are some individuals that are actually successful in avoiding the probate process.  Three ways an individual avoids probate  is by way of:

  • Joint ownership with the right of survivorship;
  • By way of gifts, and
  • Lastly, by means of revocable trusts.

Parts II and III will continue this week!