If you’re like most people, you have at least one bank account. But what happens to that account when you die? The answer may surprise you: in Texas, bank accounts do not go through probate. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what this means for your loved ones and how to ensure that your bank accounts are properly taken care of after your death.
What is probate?
In Texas, probate is the legal process of transferring a person’s assets after they die. Probate also includes settling any debts the deceased person may have. The purpose of probate is to ensure that the deceased person’s assets are distributed according to their wishes as stated in their will. If the deceased person did not have a will, then their assets will be distributed according to Texas law.
Probate can be a long and complicated process, especially if the deceased person’s estate is large or if there is disagreement among the heirs about how the assets should be divided. An experienced probate attorney can help make the process go more smoothly.
If you are named as an executor in someone’s will, or if you are the next of kin of someone who died without a will, you may have questions about what happens to bank accounts during probate. Read on to learn more about bank accounts and probate in Texas.
What assets are subject to probate in Texas?
As with any other state, probate in Texas is handled on a case-by-case basis. However, there are certain types of assets that are always subject to probate, regardless of the circumstances. These include:
-Real estate: All property owned by the decedent, including any homes, land, or commercial buildings, must go through probate. This is true even if the property is held in joint tenancy with another person or persons.
-Personal belongings: Any personal items owned by the decedent, such as furniture, jewelry, vehicles, and art collections, must also go through probate.
-Bank accounts: All bank accounts held in the decedent’s name are subject to probate. This includes savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit.
-Investment accounts: Any investment accounts held in the decedent’s name are also subject to probate. This includes brokerage accounts, mutual fund accounts, and IRA and 401(k) accounts.
-Business interests: If the decedent owned a business interest, such as a partnership or sole proprietorship, that interest must be included in the probate estate.
What assets do not go through probate in Texas?
If you’re wondering what assets don’t go through probate in Texas, the answer is:
1. Property that is jointly owned with someone else and passes to the surviving owner automatically by operation of law;
2. Property held in a trust;
3. Property that names a specific beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy or retirement account;
4. Small estates that qualify for simplified probate procedures; and
5. Real estate held as community property with right of survivorship by a married couple.
Is probate required for bank accounts?
Bank accounts in Texas do not generally go through probate unless the account is joint with another person or the account has been designated as a payable-on-death (POD) account. Probate may be required if the deceased person had multiple bank accounts and it is unclear which bank accounts are joint and which are POD.
If an account is joint with another person, the other person can usually continue to access the account after the death of the first person. If the account is a POD account, the money in the account will usually be paid to the named beneficiary upon presentation of a death certificate.
If probate is required for bank accounts, the executor of the estate will need to open a probate case and submit a list of all assets, including bank accounts, to the court. The court will then issue Letters Testamentary, which appoints the executor as representative of the estate. The executor can then use these letters to open a new bank account in the name of the estate and transfer any assets from individual accounts into this new account.
Can a bank release funds without probate in Texas?
If the deceased person was the sole owner of the bank account and named a beneficiary, then the bank can release the funds to the beneficiary without probate. If there is no named beneficiary, then the bank will require probate before releasing any funds.
What happens to a bank account when someone dies in Texas?
If someone dies and has a bank account in Texas, the bank may put a hold on the account. The account may be frozen until the executor or administrator of the estate provides the bank with a death certificate and documents proving that they have been appointed to handle the deceased person’s affairs.
The bank may also require that any checks or other items that are presented for payment be endorsed by the executor or administrator. Once the bank is satisfied that the executor or administrator is legitimate, they will release any funds that are in the account.
It is important to note that if there are joint owners on an account, those funds will generally not be subject to probate. The surviving joint owner will usually have access to those funds.
Can you withdraw money from a deceased parents bank account?
If you are the executor of a deceased person’s estate in Texas, you may be able to withdraw money from their bank account without going through probate. This is because most banks will allow you to do so if you have a death certificate and a letter of authority from the court.
However, if the deceased person had any outstanding debts, the bank may place a hold on the account until those debts are paid off. And, if there are multiple heirs to the estate, the bank may require that all of them sign off on the withdrawal before it will release any funds.
So, while you can usually withdraw money from a deceased person’s bank account without going through probate in Texas, there are some circumstances where you may need to do so.
What happens if you don’t close a bank account when someone dies?
If you don’t close a bank account when someone dies, the account will remain open and any money in the account will remain accessible. This can be a problem if the account has a large balance and the heirs don’t want to continue paying fees on the account. Additionally, if the account is not properly closed, it could be used fraudulently by someone who obtains the deceased person’s personal information.
In Texas, bank accounts generally do not go through probate. This means that if you have a bank account in Texas, your loved ones will not have to go through the hassle and expense of Probate Court in order to access your account after you die. Instead, they will simply need to provide the bank with a copy of your death certificate and any other required documentation.
Do you need an Experienced Probate Attorney to help?
When a loved one dies, their bank accounts likely won’t be the first thing on your mind. But what happens to those accounts can have a big impact on the estate and the distribution of assets. In Texas, if a person dies without a will, their assets will go through probate—a legal process that can be complex and time-consuming.
If you’re named as the executor of an estate, you may be wondering if you need to hire a probate attorney. While you are not required to hire an attorney, there are many benefits to having one on your side. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the legal process, ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly, and represent you in court if necessary.
The cost of hiring a probate attorney will vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate. However, many people find that the peace of mind and expertise an attorney provides is well worth the cost. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation. (210) 436-6601.