Wills & Trusts
A Last Will and Testament, or Will, is a legal document that outlines how the assets in your estate will pass to your surviving spouse, children, or other beneficiaries upon your death.
In my opinion, everyone needs, at the very least, a Will.
For some the Will may be the only asset transfer document they have; for others, they may have a Will in conjunction with a Revocable Living Trust.
In Texas it is relatively easy to draft a Will; you can even write your own. However, if you choose this method, be forewarned that a Will must meet certain criteria in order to be valid under Texas law.
Most people choose to visit an estate planning attorney and have them draft their Will.
This is a much safer option because your attorney, if they focus their practice in this area of law, will be familiar with the proper drafting and execution requirements.
Your attorney will also be able to counsel you on specific areas and topics that may have a huge impact upon your estate, surviving spouse, and beneficiaries.
A Will can be very simple and only be a few pages in length, or it can be quite extensive and complex.
Your Will can also be drafted so that your assets are left in trust to your surviving spouse or children.
This can be a great way protect those assets from their creditors and predators.
Trusts can also be used for other purposes such as providing for a disabled family member or keeping your business in the family.
The possibilities are endless when you consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft your Will.
Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust is an agreement between two parties: the Grantor, who establishes the trust, and the trustee, who manages it.
The Grantor sets the rules of the Trust, determines what property will be in it, and decides who will serve as trustee and benefit from the Trust.
A Revocable Living Trust is an excellent vehicle to have as the foundation of your estate plan. It provides flexibility, privacy, and greater protection from having your Will contested.
When you create a Revocable Living Trust, you are the initial trustee.
This means that you have complete control over all trust property. You can buy or sell property, change beneficiaries, or even dissolve the trust entirely if you wish.
As long as you are alive and competent, you retain this control.
Once you die or become incapacitated, however, control of the trust passes to your successor trustee, who then manages it according to your instructions.
Because the Revocable Living Trust is a separate legal entity, its assets are not subject to probate when you die.
This means that your heirs can avoid the time and expense of going through probate court.
In addition, because the terms of a Revocable Living Trust are not public record, it can provide greater privacy for your family than a Will.
Finally, because a Revocable Living Trust is, by definition, “revocable”—meaning that you can change it at any time—it provides greater flexibility than a Will.
You can make changes to your Revocable Living Trust as your needs and circumstances change over time.
For all of these reasons, a Revocable Living Trust is an excellent foundation for your estate plan.
If I can be of assistance please feel free to contact me for more information.