There are a lot of benefits to getting your estate planning completed now before it is too late. Most of them are for your beneficiaries and relatives, but you will also reap the benefit of peace of mind -- knowing that everything related to your estate will be far easier on your loved ones after you're gone. One of these important benefits relates to the probate process and how a well-planned estate can render Texas probate proceedings unnecessary for heirs.
One of the best strategies for bypassing probate for your heirs involves the creation of a revocable living trust. Placing as many of your assets in the trust as possible will result in those assets being immune from probate proceedings. The concept is relatively simple, but the creation of the trust is best handled by a legal professional with experience in handling probate and estate administration issues.
With a revocable living trust, the person who creates the trust is allowed to serve as trustee and, therefore, maintains control of all the assets in the trust. However, he or she will no longer be the legal owner of the assets. The legal owner will be the trust itself. When the trust creator dies, the role of trustee will be assumed by the designated successor trustee. The successor trustee will be charged with the duty of disbursing the trust's assets in accordance with the asset distribution plan contained in the trust documents.
Free online charitable remainder trust forms can be found on the Internet, but using these documents is not the wisest strategy because it may increase the chances that the trust will be challenged in court after the trust creator's death. At the Law Office of Sharon C. Stodghill, we focus on creating trusts to help Texas estate planners avoid the probate process for their heirs and beneficiaries. Although no trust is foolproof, one that is drafted clearly, in accordance with the law and with an eye for conflict avoidance, will be far less likely to be challenged.