Probate is the legal process of marshaling the assets of a decedent, ascertaining creditors of the estate, and distributing the probate property. This may involve proving the validity of a will and verifying the instructions for property distribution contained in the will so that the courts can permit its use as a basis of distributing a decedent's estate.

Probate in Texas can be a streamlined process if you have a valid up-to-date will, there is no dispute among the family and your beneficiaries, you do not have creditor liens and you do not have tax problems.

The streamlined process may turn complex if the will's validity is questioned or there is a will contest. With the guidance of an attorney going through probate is not as cumbersome as it used to be.

Probate can be simple for small estates but can easily become complicated with larger estates or when beneficiaries contest the Will. Typical costs are 3%-10% of the estate's value.

Some assets avoid probate: Assets with beneficiary designations on them, such as life insurance, retirement accounts and bank accounts avoid probate. Assets transferred to a revocable Living Trust prior to the person's passing also avoid probate.