When clients and prospective clients come to us for their estate planning needs, their first priority is often asking us to help them write their wills. What many clients don’t know, however, is that wills are only one option clients have at their disposal. Trusts are another tool that can create security throughout the estate planning process. Trusts come in many forms – some address specific needs, while others are general and help individuals avoid the probate process.
A common misconception we see is that trusts are only for the super-wealthy. Trusts can be utilized, however, by any individuals that have assets they don’t want to go through the probate process. Probate is a legal procedure through which assets owned in a decedent’s name are distributed by a court. The kinds of assets that go through probate are typically assets like bank accounts, homes, cars, art, and bank accounts. These assets don’t pass directly to a decedent’s spouse or heirs, so it is the court’s job to make sure they are distributed fairly. Using this kind of trust instead of a will means that assets owned by your trust will totally avoid the probate process and go directly to your loved ones.
When an individual creates a living trust, then, they can take more control of where these assets will end up. Assets held in a trust are also taxed differently than if they are owned outside of the trust. Trust planning can reduce estate taxes, creating yet another benefit that many clients do not know about.
Ultimately, whichever tools you use in your estate planning process, it is important to revisit the strategy from time to time so that you can make sure your loved ones will still be protected despite your changing financial situation. While having conversations about what will happen after your death is never something that clients look forward to doing, it is something that spouses and heirs are always grateful for after their loved one’s passing.
Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we understand that getting started on making estate plans can feel daunting. That is why our Houston estate planning lawyers believe that every estate plan begins with an open conversation. We take time to talk with you and learn about your family, your assets, and your needs. If you already have an estate plan but might want it revised, we can also start that process with you so that you can make sure your loved ones are protected exactly as you want them to be.
Our decades of experience at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC make us uniquely qualified to work with you on your living trust or any other aspect of your estate plan. To discuss your case, call us today at 713-936-9073. We are happy to speak with you on the phone, and we are looking forward to accompanying you on your estate planning journey.