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Estate planning: Probate, non-probate assets may cause confusion

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2017 | Estate Planning |

When surviving family members are unsure about certain aspects of an estate plan, this confusion can sometimes lead to conflict. Therefore, while they are estate planning, Texas residents may wish to understand how to lessen the likelihood of confusion. One area they may need more information about involves probate and non-probate assets.

Probate assets are typically accounts or other property that do not have specific beneficiary designations. As a result, individuals need to use their wills in order to detail who should inherit what property. However, not all property needs to be addressed in the will, as non-probate assets often have their own designations whether through named beneficiaries or through joint ownership of the accounts.

If individuals do not know that non-probate assets do not need to be addressed in the will, they may include an heir for those assets. Confusion could arise if an individual names a different person in the will than the one listed as beneficiary on the account. However, the beneficiary designation takes precedence over the instructions of the will because the will does not have control over non-probate assets.

Because there are numerous details like the difference between probate and non-probate assets to consider, the chance for mistakes during estate planning is high. This issue is why many individuals choose to gain professional assistance when creating their estate plans. If Texas residents want to ensure that they understand the subtle variations in property designations and other planning aspects, they may want to consult with experienced attorneys. 

Source:, “Does the will control?“, Christopher Yugo, April 23, 2017