Any type of legal process has terms that many people may not fully understand. For instance, some Texas residents may know that they have been named beneficiaries in their loved ones’ estate plans, but they may not fully understand what that means. They may also not understand what part they play in the probate process.

When it comes to being a beneficiary, it typically means that a person is in line to receive an asset or assets from a deceased individual’s estate. The decedent will have utilized legal documents to formally name the person as the beneficiary. If named to a retirement account, bank account, insurance policy or other payable on death account, the assets will pass directly to the beneficiary after the account holder’s passing.

In other cases, a beneficiary may be named in a will, and assets will have to go through the probate process before they can be distributed to the beneficiaries. When it comes time to distribute assets, primary beneficiaries are first in line to a given asset, and secondary or contingent beneficiaries will receive assets if the primary beneficiary cannot or will not. Beneficiaries have certain rights during the probate process, including being informed when the process begins and given updates throughout the proceedings.

It is understandable for individuals to have questions about being beneficiaries and about the probate process. If Texas residents feel that the executors of the estate are not being forthcoming with information or are delaying the process unnecessarily, they may wonder what they can do. In such situations, it may be wise for concerned parties to consult with legal professionals.