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Estate Planning - Question about 'process agent'


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We're finalizing our wills before we leave Livingston and, since I'm a (former) paralegal, I drafted the wills myself (in accordance with Texas law, of course). Our alternate executors are not Texas residents and, according to Texas law, in that event, we must designate a Texas resident/entity as a process agent. So, my question is: can Escapees act as the process agent and then forward whatever documentation is received to the alternate executor?

 

Thanks in advance!

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First of all, welcome to the Escapee's RV Club and to the club's forums! We will do all that we are able to assist and support you.

 

Not being an attorney, I really am not sure about that issue but know of no such service by the club. My suggestion is that you contact Shawn Loring, who is an attorney, a member of Escapees, and who willingly answers member's questions on legal and financial issues. I would prefer to send you to one who I am sure will give you a valid response.

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I am a Texas resident and have been for more then 41 years. I have my and my BH wills set

so that we will avoid probate court. In Texas probate court where many wills go to be processed is very expensive.

They charge a % of the assets and that can be a lot. Good Luck

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I believe Texas is one of the most economical states to "push up daises" in. When we had our wills drawn up 15 years ago the attorney at that time said it would only cost $150 to probate our "estate". I am sure the dollar amount and the property involved has an affect on probate.

 

Having a will solves a lot of problems for your survivors:
(Source: http://jonesandassociateslaw.com/2011/09/14/why_its_important_for_texas_residents_to_have_a_will/ )

  • Finally, having a Will in Texas greatly simplifies the probate of your estate.
    • In many other states, probate is a complicated, time consuming and expensive process. The Probate Court is involved from beginning to end and all actions of the Executor (or Administrator) must be approved by the Court in formal hearings.
    • By contrast, Texas law allows you to specifically designate in your Will that your Executor is to act as an “Independent Executor” (Wills that are not specific to Texas law often do not contain the wording required to take advantage of the Independent Executor provisions of Texas law.).
    • The Independent Executor you designate is then appointed by the Probate Court in a single, short “prove up” hearing. Following that hearing, the Executor collects all of the assets of the estate, files an inventory of the estate with the Court, pays any debts and estate taxes due, and distributes the assets according to the terms of the Will. All is accomplished without direct Court supervision.
    • As a result, the cost of probate is low in Texas when a valid Will is in place because only an initial “prove up” hearing is required. Consequently, court costs and attorney fees are held to a minimum. Further, if a family member or friend serves as the Executor your estate may not have to pay any fee for their services.

 

Inheritance and Estate Taxes
(Source: http://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-new-york-wyoming#TEXAS )

There is no inheritance and the estate tax is limited and related to federal estate tax collection.
For further information, visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
site.

 

 

Ten Facts You Should Know About the Federal Estate Tax UPDATED March 23, 2015

The federal estate tax is a tax on property (cash, real estate, stock, or other assets) transferred from deceased persons to their heirs. Only the wealthiest estates pay the tax because it is levied only on the portion of an estate’s value that exceeds a specified exemption level — $5.43 million per person (effectively $10.86 million per married couple) in 2015.[2] The estate tax thus limits, to a modest degree, the large tax breaks that extremely wealthy households get on their wealth as it grows, which can otherwise go untaxed.
Source: http://www.cbpp.org/research/ten-facts-you-should-know-about-the-federal-estate-tax

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I am a Texas resident and have been for more then 41 years. I have my and my BH wills set

so that we will avoid probate court. In Texas probate court where many wills go to be processed is very expensive.

They charge a % of the assets and that can be a lot. Good Luck

 

Probate courts in Texas do NOT charge a percentage of an estate's assets. They are flat fees and are the same for every will that gets filed. And they're not all that expensive--maybe a few hundred dollars.

 

Also, a will can't be set up to avoid probate court because probate court is the only place where they get filed, period.

 

You might want to get your estate plan checked because you're getting a lot of misinformation. There are valid reasons to avoid probate in Texas, but saving money is not one of them. And avoiding probate is never done via a will.

 

 

 

I believe Texas is one of the most economical states to "push up daises" in. When we had our wills drawn up 15 years ago the attorney at that time said it would only cost $150 to probate our "estate". I am sure the dollar amount and the property involved has an affect on probate.

 

Yes, Texas is considered one of the least expensive states for probate.

 

But when you were told $150, that had to be just the filing fees. However, there are other costs, including attorney's fees and costs for publishing the notice to creditors, and possibly executor's fees and accountant's fees.

 

The only way the size of an estate will have an effect on probate in Texas is if an attorney or an accountant or an executor has to bill more hours because of the complexity. In Texas, attorneys and accountants do not charge a percentage of the estate. Executor fees can be set in a will, and if they're not, the law provides a compensation scheme that uses a percentage, but that percentage is not applied to the total assets.

 

For a typical estate without problems, I would expect attorney's fees would be between $1,000 and $2,000 or so, plus probably a few hundred dollars in filing fees and publication costs. There are some types of probate administration that are even cheaper, if the estate qualifies for them. And it's not unheard of for an executor to choose not to file a will for probate at all, although it would be a good idea to consult and attorney (and pay for the time) about that.

 

And sometimes you DO want probate. If there's a troublesome beneficiary or problematic family relationships, for example, having the probate court oversee the administration can be a way to quell disagreements. That sort of thing is rare, but it does happen. But you won't hear people who put on estate planning seminars at the local steakhouse talking about it.

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Have you inquired of a probate lawyer about how much they will charge you to probate a will?

The probate court does not charge you a %, sorry if that was how my post sounded, but the lawyer probating your will may well.

While I don't know all Texas probate lawyers, I do know two who charge a % of assets and I have been told that in the urban counties you must have an attorney

to probate wills. In PA my brother probated my father's and mother's will himself and the people at the court house where very helpful and the charge was very low.

The $150 noted above is lower then the filing fee for Harris County, Houston, Texas.

To avoid probate you use a trust but I would recommend an attorney to set it up.

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