If you’re thinking about estate planning, you might have a big question: what’s the difference between a trust and a will, and which do I require? Understanding estate planning law in Texas isn’t impossible, but it can be confusing. If you need any help with estate planning, schedule your consultation with an expert today.
What is a will?
Your will, also known as your last will and testament, is only one component of a complete estate plan. People are said to have died “intestate” if they die without a will. In such a case, Texas state laws govern how and to whom the person’s assets are distributed. Some more information about wills that you need to know are:
- Until death, a will has no legal force. As a result, a will does not assist in managing a person’s affairs when incapacitated due to an illness or injury.
- A will does not exempt an estate from probate. A will is a legal document that must be filed with the probate court.
- If your minor children will be orphaned after your death, a will is a good place to name guardians. All parents with minor children should keep a record of who their children’s guardians should be after their death. If you leave this to chance, you risk causing a family feud and placing your children with inappropriate guardians.
In summary, a will can help you:
- Divide your assets.
- Declare who will be responsible for distributing your assets.
- Appoint a guardian for your underage children.
However, some things that a will can not do are:
- A will cannot avoid probate court, but a good will can make probate easier.
- A will does not cover your medical or legal powers of attorney, determining who makes decisions in your absence.
- Your affairs cannot be kept private by a will. Wills are open to the public.
What is a Trust?
A trust, also known as a revocable living trust, is a legal entity created to manage your assets. To create a trust, you must first establish it and then retitle all of your assets in the trust’s name.
A trust is more expensive to set up at the beginning, which may be one of the reasons why many lawyers recommend them. Instead of paying for probate, you pay to have the trust established and all assets transferred to the trust’s name.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you decide which option would suit your needs and how to proceed. Schedule a consultation today and get the help you deserve.