Texas Estate Planning Overview

Non-Probate Assets

Non-Probate assets typically are funds in a savings account, IRA or KEOGH accounts, pension accounts, mutual funds and insurance proceeds that distribute the proceeds pursuant to a contract or beneficiary designation.  These beneficiary designations or contracts determine the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the assets upon the death of the person who owns the account or insurance policy.  Some of the more typical Non-Probate assets are the following:

  • Insurance policies
  • IRAs
  • KEOGHs
  • Pensions
  • Profit sharing plans
  • 401(k) plans
  • 403(b) plans
  • Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship (JTWROS)
  • Money held in Transfer on Death (TOD) or Pay on Death (POD) bank accounts

Assets owned by trusts will also avoid probate.

In most cases, these non-probate assets can pass directly to the beneficiary, as long as that person is properly named as the beneficiary in the policy or account documents. Thomas Reino, a Texas probate attorney can help you determine whether beneficiary designations have been properly made depending on your estate planning objectives. Sometimes beneficiary designations are made without fully understanding the effect of the designation.  Sometimes beneficiary designations can have unintended consequences depending on unforeseen circumstances.  Trusts can help distribute a person’s property and avoid many unintended results of beneficiary designations.  See the trust section of this website for further discussion regarding unintended results of beneficiary designations.

Call Tom Reino if you have questions about Texas estate planning law.

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