Misperceptions of Probate

Have you ever heard of “Airplane Crash Bias?”

Whenever an airplane crashes, news channels around the world do not hesitate to broadcast the shocking incident. As a result, many people have developed a fear of flying.

The truth, however, is that airplanes rarely ever crash.

Airplanes actually account for relatively few deaths each year. In fact, commonplace creatures such as cows, horses, bees, and dogs each cause more human deaths each year than airplanes ever do. Despite the statistical “deadliness” of docile livestock and in-house pets, we rarely—if ever—hear the news report death-by-cow stories. Why? Probably because cows aren’t very exciting or newsworthy creatures, however tragic a related death might be. A death caused by an airplane crash, however, is frightening, shocking, and nightmarish. That produces more news stories, which, in turn, generate more viewers and advertizing revenues.

Airplanes are indeed powerful machines that have the potential to cause a lot of damage, yet they actually cause very little harm when considering the overall big picture. In fact, they are a safe and secure way to get from one place to another, just as probate is, in a different sense.

Regarding probate, all things considered, we see that thousands of simple, quick, and inexpensive probates take place every year in Texas. We never hear about these smoothly successful probates, though, because they are merely routine and commonplace. Much like a routine flight, they aren’t newsworthy, and they likely don’t generate very interesting conversation among friends and family.

We do, however, hear about the statistically few awful probates that occur, much like how we hear about the statistically few airplane crashes that occur.

You should consider the big picture as it applies to your perception of probate. Yes, some probates are expensive and time-consuming, especially if family members decide to sue each other. The truth, however, is that the vast majority of probates are quite easy, quick, and inexpensive—especially in a state like Texas that has such outstanding probate laws.

Ultimately, to refer back to Judge Austin, “You should not believe the Texas probate system will engulf you in turmoil, excessive costs and delays.”