Wills and trust are commonly used by those who begin the estate planning process in Texas. In fact, these tools alone can be customized to fit the needs of people in our state. This benefits not only those who are seeking to create an estate plan, but also those heirs and beneficiaries left behind
A will is used in Texas when an individual seeks to appoint a guardian for their minor children or to name managers for their children's property. In addition, in most cases, a will is subject to the sometimes-complicated probate process. This fact means that all information in the document is public and accessible.
In contrast, a trust, such as a living trust, is a private instrument that is not subject to the probate process. In it, those who receive property are called beneficiaries. The individual who manages the trust is the Trustee. This person is most often the creator of the trust while alive and then a Successor Trustee after the death of the creator of the trust. In such a document, property can be given to individuals and a conservatorship can be avoided.
Estate planning includes many options for those of us in Texas. Because of this, it may do well for people to review available information so that they can make the best possible choice. This is an effort that can pay off for the person creating the estate plan as well as heirs and beneficiaries left behind and can limit the possibility that litigation will be necessary between parties receiving property.
Source: Fox Business, "The Power of Trusts," Dennis Holmstrom, July 9, 2013