Probate vs. Non-Probate Assets with our Probate Attorneys in McAllen

Probate involves the legal process of administering a deceased individual’s estate to their loved ones, settling debts, and giving others a chance to contest your will. You should know that only some assets in your will can go through probate. Some assets are protected. In this blog, our probate attorneys talk about the differences between probate vs. non-probate assets.

  • What are probate and non-probate assets?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of probate assets?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of non-probate assets?

What are Probate Assets?

Probate assets are subject to be looked at during the probate process. A probate court judge ensures that the deceased person’s debts are paid, and their administrator then distributes the remaining assets to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. Some common types of probate assets in Texas include:

  • Personal Property, like jewelry and vehicles, typically undergo probate.
  • Bank Accounts solely in the deceased’s name, without POD or TOD designation.
  • Real Estate property owned only by the deceased person without a designated beneficiary.

Pros/Cons of Probate Assets

  • Pro– Probate offers a structured and supervised process for asset distribution, ensuring proper settlement of the deceased person’s debts and liabilities.
  • Pro- Probate provides a legal forum to address and resolve potential disputes among beneficiaries or creditors.
  • Con – The probate process can be time-consuming, leading to delays in distributing assets to beneficiaries. It may take several months or even years to complete the process.
  • Con- Probate proceedings can be expensive, with costs stemming from attorney fees, court expenses, and administrative charges. These expenses may reduce the overall value of the estate.

What are Non-Probate Assets?

Non-probate assets bypass probate and are directly transferred to designated beneficiaries. These assets include:

  • Life Insurance Policies are paid directly to named beneficiaries and do not undergo probate.
  • Jointly Owned Property held with the right of survivorship transfers to surviving owners.
  • Payable-on-Death (POD) bank accounts with designated beneficiaries receive funds directly upon the account holder’s death.
  • Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Securities, like stocks and bonds, go directly to designated beneficiaries upon the owner’s request.

Pros/Cons of Non-Probate Assets

Pro- These assets remain confidential and are not part of the public record, ensuring a discreet transfer of wealth to beneficiaries.

Pro – Non-probate assets are expedited quickly since they bypass the probate process, providing timely financial support to beneficiaries under challenging circumstances.

Con – It is essential to regularly review and update beneficiary designations to ensure they accurately reflect the individual’s current wishes.

Con – Failure to update beneficiaries after significant life events like divorce or the birth of a child can result in unintended outcomes and potential disputes among potential heirs.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the distinctions between probate and non-probate assets in Texas is essential for anyone planning their estate or dealing with the distribution of assets after a loved one’s passing.

  • In contrast, non-probate assets offer a more expedited and private transfer of wealth to designated beneficiaries.

  • Non-probate assets require careful and regular review to ensure that beneficiary designations align with the individual’s wishes.

Probate vs. Non-Probate Assets

With Barrera Sanchez and Associates, individuals can find peace of mind, knowing their loved ones will be well cared for and estate settlement will be efficient.

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