To Probate or Not to Probate

Published by Robert W. Huntley, CFP®, CHFC® and Jana K. McCown

We invited local Estate Planning Attorney, Jana McCown, to share her professional insights on Probate in Texas. This is part of our “Clarity through Education” content series for clients and friends of the firm.

Please feel free to share this blog with a friend and let Jana know what you think.

To Probate, or Not To Probate? That is the Question.

Whether to tread lightly into the Courts of death, to fade into eternity: Shall I deliver thee unto the magistrate and allow him to decide the fate….

The word “Probate” may not strike fear into the hearts of man, but it does have a certain mystery about it. If you have not been through the process before, the thought of having to “go through Probate” sounds confusing if you don’t understand what is involved. Why do you need to probate a Will or go to court at all just because your loved one died?

The probate process is designed to allow a court to appoint someone to wrap up the affairs and handle the estate of a deceased person. This means naming an Executor or Administrator who will be responsible for gathering and protecting the assets, paying the legal debts, and distributing the property to heirs or other beneficiaries. Probate assets will need someone with the authority given by a probate court to be responsible for their handling.

The following kinds of property may be probate assets

  •  Your home
  •  Real property (farm or ranch land, other residences or lots)
  •  Automobiles
  •  Financial accounts where no beneficiary has been designated
  •  Any other asset where ownership will need to be transferred in an official manner

Although it is possible to arrange for the transfer of these assets without going through probate, most people do not know how. Even with the best intentions and planning, it is not all that unusual for a single asset to be the cause of having to probate an estate. That’s why a properly drafted Will is a key part of the probate puzzle.

So when a loved one dies, it is important to speak to a qualified attorney about whether you will need to go through the probate process. Better yet, make the time to find out now about what will happen to your assets when you die and who will inherit them. It may not be who you think!

Law Office of Jana K. McCown
4500 Williams Drive, Suite 212-224
Georgetown, Texas 78633

Jana K. McCown is not affiliated with CWM, LLC and Cetera. CWM, LLC and Cetera do not offer attorney services.
Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through CWM, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Cetera Advisor Networks LLC is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

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