Can your estate bypass probate court if you own real estate?

Can your estate bypass probate court if you own real estate?

| Apr 14, 2021 | Probate |

Probate can be expensive. It can also lead to your family members fighting one another and damaging their relationships if they think they can secure more of your property after you die. Many people create estate plans specifically to avoid probate requirements.

However, estates with significant financial value or real estate holdings often have to go through probate court in Texas. Is there any way for your estate with real property to bypass probate in Texas?

You could create a trust

Transferring ownership of your home from you as an individual to a trust that you create can offer multiple benefits when estate planning. This lets ownership move on to the next generation when you die without any involvement of the probate courts. Putting a house in a trust also makes it harder for creditors or Medicaid recovery programs to make a claim against your home after you die.

You could get a transfer on death deed

Texas formally recognizes transfer on death (TOD) deeds for those who want to pass on their home but do not want to create a trust. You and any other owners of the property sign the deed while alive and healthy. When you die, ownership of the property transfers immediately to the named beneficiary. Provided that there are no complications challenges to this approach, a TOD deed could easily help your beneficiaries avoid probate court if you leave behind real estate for them.

Although there are only a few options for avoiding probate when your assets include real estate, careful estate planning could help your loved ones avoid the stress of going through probate after you die.