There are different ways that people in Texas can leave their property to their loved ones after they pass away. One is by simply allowing their property to pass according to the intestate laws. However, people can also dictate where their property goes by drafting a will or a trust. Both allow people to specifically state who receives their property, but trusts have the added benefits of keeping people’s estates from going through probate.
Living trusts allow people to change title to their property so it is technically owned by the trust and not the person.
The person who created the trust still controls the property, but since ownership is with the trust, it does not need to go through probate. However, just because people execute a valid trust, it does not automatically transfer property to the trust. It is very important that people fund their trust, which means that the title to property is legally transferred to the trust.
If people do not fund their trust, it is simply shows the person’s intent. Property that has not been transferred to the trust would still need to be gathered and distributed through probate. The trustee of the trust has no authority over the property not held in the trust. Also, if there is no will drafted the property not transferred to the trust could potentially be distributed according to intestate laws and not according to the person’s wishes.
It is important that people in Texas plan for their death as they cannot take anything with them when they pass. Trusts can be an effective tool to pass one belongings on to their loved ones.
However, it is important that when people go through the estate planning process, they also fund the trust by transferring title of their property to the trust. Experienced attorneys understand how to draft trusts as well as fund them, and their help may be beneficial.