Evaluating a loved one’s estate after they pass can be overwhelming, especially if the assets must go through probate to be distributed. Assets that must go through probate are typically individual assets with no beneficiary designation, property that needs to be titled or deeded, or in some cases assets inadvertently left out of a trust.
The attorneys at Romano & Sumner understand how complicated this process can be and are ready to work with you to determine which of your loved one’s assets must go through probate and which can be distributed right away.
Hiring a lawyer to assist you with the Sugar Land asset administration process can relieve you of the difficult task of determining the future of the estate while in grief. Consult with an experienced probate attorney after the death of a loved one to discuss how the assets will be distributed today.
An asset will need to go through probate if it does not have a beneficiary designation. Even if a will determines where the asset goes in the event of death, it still needs to go through probate in order to satisfy the legal requirements of recognizing the will and appointing a personal representative to actually distribute the asset to the beneficiary.
Probate assets do not just include personal property. Bank or retirement accounts that do not have a beneficiary designation also need to go through probate. If there is no way for the institutions holding onto those assets to know how they are supposed to be given out or distributed, it would be considered a probate asset. A legal advisor familiar with the administration process in Sugar Land can help determine which assets already have beneficiary designations.
Not all assets have to go through probate to be administered. Non-probate assets include:
These assets already have designation and therefore do not need to pass through probate to be distributed. Typically, all that is needed is for the named beneficiary to provide the financial institution with a copy of the death certificate.
If there is no will and the estate is small (under $75,000 excluding homestead and exempt property), probate can sometimes be avoided by filing a Small Estate Affidavit. A personal representative will not be appointed with a small estate affidavit, but it must conform with all the statutory requirements.
That small estate affidavit, if properly done, will allow a financial institution to recognize an heir. It can be a streamlined and simple process, but because of the strict requirements it is not applicable in all situations. A local attorney can help explain if a Small Estate Affidavit may be used in your particular case.
An insolvent estate occurs when somebody in Sugar Land dies and the value of their estate is less than the amount of their debts or liabilities. In these situations, there are special rules regarding the order in which debts or liabilities are paid, and there are some exemptions that family members may claim as well. Even though an estate is insolvent, there is hope for the surviving spouse and minor children. However, it is imperative that you contact an experienced probate attorney to help chart out a plan for an insolvent estate.
Romano & Sumner have the experience and expertise to successfully assist with the administration of an estate. We understand that people want the process of serving as an executor or administrator to be as effective and as short as possible. Contact a knowledgeable attorney about your situation today to learn more about Sugar Land asset administration today.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC