Wills and Trusts
Wills and trusts are both tools you can use to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. A will does not take effect until your death.
There are many types of trusts. A trust can be used during your lifetime with provisions as to what happens at your death. A trust is not submitted to probate and is administered by whoever you have appointed as the trustee.
Both wills and trusts are effective ways for you to arrange for the transfer of your assets. It is possible to use the different trusts that are available in ways that may make probating a will unnecessary.
Wills: An Overview
A will is a written document where you specifically say how you want your assets to be distributed at your death. You can name relatives or non-relatives as beneficiaries.
At your death, your will is admitted to probate where the probate court oversees the distribution of your assets to be sure this is done according to your wishes as stated in your will.
Dying Without a Will
If you die intestate, which means you die without a will, your assets are distributed according to state law. It does not matter if someone comes forward and says they know your intent for how you want your estate distributed. Dying without a will means the state controls the distribution.
Typically the spouse and children are first in line to inherit. If you have no spouse and no children then your parents inherit, followed by your siblings, your grandparents, and so forth down the line of relatives.
If no relative can be found, the property then belongs to the state. As part of the probate process, your creditors may lay claim to some of your property.
Overview of Trusts
There are many types of trusts. Generally a person you have faith in, a bank or financial institution, or even yourself is named as the trustee and takes over legal ownership of your property which is all placed into the trust you create. The trust is controlled by the trustee and is not admitted to probate. This is a way for you to leave property to your beneficiaries outside of probate and to maintain privacy with regard to your assets and beneficiaries.
The Reecer Law Firm, P.L.L.C. can help you establish the following types of trusts:
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts. For the benefit of your spouse and children and avoids estate taxes.
- Charitable trusts. Provides funds for a charity.
- Pet trusts. Provides for continued care of your pets.
- Living trusts. Names either you or another person as trustee and owner of your property in a way that transfers your property upon your death and avoids probate.
- Special needs trusts. To care for your child with special needs.
- Family trusts. Protects your assets within your family and avoids probate.
Advantages of trusts are:
- Avoidance of probate.
- Protecting beneficiaries from creditors.
- Minimizing tax consequences of beneficiaries.
- Maintaining privacy.
Contact Wills and Trusts Attorneys at The Reecer Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
Our attorneys at The Reecer Law Firm, P.L.L.C., can help you with your estate planning. Our founder, Dena A. Reecer, is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and one of the areas only attorneys specialize in is the preparation of wills and trusts. You can contact us online or call us at 940-382-3168 to schedule a consultation.