Many estate planning tools are available to Texas residents to avoid probate court or at least make the process easier. Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are an underutilized estate planning tool that can help to avoid probate court.
Certificates of deposit
A certificate of deposit is a guarantee that you will set aside a set portion of your money with a bank or credit union. In return, the bank will pay you a modest return after a set period of time.
CDs are considered a low-risk investment, but they do require a lot of time for people to really make money on them. CDs can be passed down in an inheritance.
Directly inheriting a CD
A CD can have a beneficiary, named by the person who created the CD. The beneficiary could be a family member or a close friend, but they would inherit the CD as soon as the original CD owner passes away, known as being payable on death.
The other way to directly pass on a CD after your death is to name another person on that account. Upon your death, the person you’ve named on the joint CD account would become the sole owner.
CDs in probate court
If there is no other name on the account and there was no beneficiary for the CD to be passed to, then the account would have to go through probate court. There are fees associated with any property that goes through probate court, including certificates of deposit.
It can often take a long time to figure out what should happen with assets that go through probate court. That’s why many people invest in estate plans in order to avoid these delays and any associated court costs.