Is probate bad?

Our office gets this question from time to time. The initial answer is “no,” because probate is an effective legal process to transfer property after someone passes away. So, what people are really asking about is whether the probate process itself is bad. Is it? Should it be avoided?

Judge Russell Austin of Probate Court Number One, Harris County, Texas, wrote an outstanding article entitled “No Reason To Fear Texas Probate by Judge Austin.”

In that article, Judge Austin described the saturation of misleading information about probate. “The impression we receive . . . is that the probate system is akin to a Byzantine labyrinth of judicial pitfalls that are both costly and time consuming,” he says. “These impressions,” the Judge emphasizes, “are far from the truth.”

The truth is that probate isn’t bad at all. In fact, probate is a great thing because it is one of the safest and most secure ways to transfer property from a deceased loved one’s estate to your family.

Further, probate is efficient and relatively inexpensive in Texas. In Texas, we are blessed with arguably the very best probate laws in the country. In fact, in many cases, Texas law provides various expedited proceedings such as an Independent Administration, especially when a loved one passed away with a valid Will.

Why, then, do so many perceive probate in a negative light? Among others, consider the following two primary reasons:

  • Misperceptions
  • Trusts scams

For more detail about these topics, please feel welcome to read our articles entitled “Misperceptions of Probate,” and “Trusts Salesmen: A Warning.”