Residents of the Houston area likely know that having an estate plan is important, but they may avoid this process for a variety of reasons. For most, it is probably that they just don't understand many of the terms involved, which can admittedly be quite legal-sounding, like "trustees," "executors" and "fiduciaries." It is important to know what these terms refer to and what power these roles hold in an estate plan.
A trustee is someone who is designated to manage a trust. A trust can be established for a wide variety of reasons, such as to avoid the probate process or to have a specific condition in place for an heir or beneficiary to receive the benefits of an inheritance. Fiduciaries are in a similar role in the sense that they have a duty to maintain the assets in question and protect them from dissipation.
An executor is someone who is designated to manage an estate through the probate process. The executor is responsible for marshaling the assets in the estate, protecting those assets and then distributing the assets once the probate process has concluded.
To get Houston residents ready to engage in the estate planning process, it can be important to take some of the sting out of these legal terms. At our law firm, we do our best to work with our clients so that they know what their options are and how their decisions will impact the estate and their designated beneficiaries. For more information, please visit our Alternatives to Guardianship page.