Probates can be a hassle. When all you want to do is settle the assets, property, and debts associated with your recently deceased loved one; it may seem that the court is trying to interfere and prolong the process at every turn. In Houston, as well as other cities across Texas, probates can be simple if you know what you’re doing. In acquiring the advice of a Houston probate attorney, you will have the information necessary to make the probate process as simple as possible.
Before we begin, you must understand what items do not need to undergo the probate process. Although there are not many, some items that are excluded from the probate process are: life insurance proceeds, survivor benefits from an annuity, community property with right of survivorship, etc. Most everything else must go through the probate process through the financial management of a chosen or appointed executor. However, the probate process can be potentially sped up based on decedent’s will and the beneficiaries.
Many Houston families choose “independent administration” to quicken the probate process for themselves. Of course, this option can only be chosen if the decedent explicitly wanted the executor to pursue “independent administration” or the beneficiaries have collectively agreed that they want to pursue it. What an independent administration does is it removes the requirement where the executor has to ask the court permission for various issues such as paying debts, family allowances, and more. Also, the executor does not have to post a bond or, in other words, an insurance policy that would insure the decedent’s assets and property in the case that an executor mismanages the assets. Of course, the executor must still file the inventory of assets with the court and publish a notice to potential creditors in a newspaper. In addition, the executor must still safeguard the estate assets until they are ready to be distributed. If your loved one has been deceased for a while, keep in mind that you have four years after their death to ask for an independent administration and begin the probate process. After the deadline, the courts will have no authority over appointing an executor and the process will become more difficult.
Although we have touched upon a few topics to quicken the probate process, the best way to expedite the probate process is to know what to do. With a skillful probate attorney at your side, you will have the tools to make the probate process faster.