Probate For Small Estates Texas
Many states, including Texas, allow “small” estates to bypass standard probate, saving the estate, its executor, and its heir's considerable effort and cost.
Different states define “small” differently, and an estate worth millions of dollars may even qualify as “small.”
When determining if an estate meets the qualifications of being considered “small,” only the values of assets that would normally go through probate should be counted. Community property with rights of survivorship, assets with named beneficiaries (e.g., life insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k)s), and other standard probate exclusions should be excluded from the calculation.
Excluding these assets that may be considerable in value can mean the difference between a substantial estate bypassing probate or not.
Qualifying as a “Small” Estate in Texas
If the qualified gross value of an estate in Texas is under $75,000 and there is no will, the small estate process can be used with almost no court involvement.
To use the small estate process in Texas, the following five conditions must be met:
- The estate’s qualified gross value is <$75,000
- There is no will
- At least 30 days have passed since the death of the estate owner
- The estate is solvent (the non-exempt assets are worth more than the debts)
- No petition has already been made to the court to officially appoint a personal representative
When determining if an estate qualifies as “small,” assets should be valued as of the date of death, and unsecured debts should be ignored. In addition, assets that would not usually go through probate should also be excluded.
General Settlement Approaches
If the estate qualifies as “small,” there is often a waiting period, after which you can use one of the following approaches (depending on the state):
Small Estate Affidavit: complete a sworn statement concerning estate inventory and heirs, then use the affidavit to obtain possession of estate assets from current custodians. If done correctly, no court will usually be involved.
However, on occasion, a current property custodian won’t understand the process and may resist relinquishing possession of an asset. In that instance, court involvement may become necessary.
Summary Administration: many states allow an abbreviated form of probate, in which an interested party submits documentation to the probate court attesting to estate assets, debts, and legal heirs. In return, they obtain a court order allowing them to settle the estate according to a substantially simplified process.
Other: some states provide alternate ways of handling small estates, such as the Texas Affidavit of Heirship.
A Word of Caution for Executors
Even if the estate you’re administering qualifies for small estate treatment, consider going through the probate process anyway for the increased liability protections and protections from creditors it provides.
For example, a creditor can take heirs or the executor to court if debts are not satisfied and distributions are made to heirs that could have been used to pay the debts.
Also, consider probate if estate solvency is uncertain or you’re concerned as executor that the estate may become embroiled in a lawsuit (e.g., a disgruntled employee or resentful heir).
Questions Concerning Probate and Real Estate?
Serving as an executor can be all-consuming. Certain aspects of settling an estate require significant time and effort, like handling an estate’s real estate holdings.
EstateExec is an online service that helps estate executors perform their duties. Every year, more than 3M people die in the US and Canada, and by law their estates must be settled, with this responsibility often falling to a family member. Although the primary user of EstateExec is the estate executor, it's also common for the original estate owner to purchase a license in advance of his or her death, to make the executor's job easier.
If you have questions concerning probate and real estate in Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Collin, Denton, or Dallas County, contact David Pannell and Cities Real Estate. David has extensive experience helping families with their real estate needs before, during, and after the probate process.
David has been an agent/realtor since 2005. He has served as a United States Marines, City of Arlington police officer, and is a dedicated family man. You can trust him to put your interests first in any and all situations.
Call David today at (817) 797-9047 for help with your real estate and probate needs. You will be treated respectfully, and your requirements will be met efficiently and confidentially.
NTREIS data last updated December 2, 2023.
Why Hire Us?
We help FAMILIES GOING THROUGH PROBATE with all the tasks that the attorneys don’t do. We find that most people need help with cleaning out the houses, assist the executors in finding the right estate sell companies in the area, help with donating personal property the family doesn’t want. We even educate you with small recommendations that will improve the property to get a better price; because so many investors are trying to buy estate properties for 40-50% of their value. Some of our best clients have come from the PROBATED Estates. with understanding the family’s goals then offering you some options to choose from.
We have expertise in HELPING Personal Representatives get to their desired outcome FASTER, SMOOTHER, and with MUCH LESS STRESS! We have built an entire team and service hub around the probate process, that will allow YOU to focus on YOUR busy life and not worry about all the details.
Let US help you gain COMPLETE control of the probate process. Working with the Probate Services team will reduce the stress of dealing with this major g this life transition.