In Houston and throughout Texas, living trusts allow property owners to use their assets during their lifetime while ensuring that their assets are securely transferred to their beneficiaries. The legal document is similar to a will in that it allows financial assets and personal property to be passed on to named beneficiaries. However, the terms of a will become effective after they die, whereas a revocable living trust becomes effective immediately. These trusts allow property owners to keep control of their assets while living even if they become incapacitated.
Establishing a legally binding living trust is crucial to ensuring that a person’s wishes are appropriately documented and carried out. The trust documents should list the property, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. The relevant property is transferred to the trust, giving the trust control over the assets. Trustees should designate a successor who will be responsible for effectuating the trustee’s wishes. These trusts are useful for controlling and transferring various types of assets, but it is incredibly helpful for property owners. Regardless of age, marital status, or wealth, living trusts are an inexpensive and effective way to reduce and eliminate the stress of distributing assets while maintaining control and privacy.
Not only do living trusts help individuals avoid probate and court control, but it also allows trustees to control the assets during their lifetime. The trustee maintains the ability to buy, sell, modify, or even cancel the trust. Further, revocable living trusts allow the trustee to efficiently transfer assets such as jewelry, furniture, clothes, and art into the trust.
Avoiding Texas Probate
Individuals should consider wills in addition to trusts to address handling undocumented property or assets. However, these trusts provide individuals with a simple alternative to a will and help them, and their loved ones, avoid probate proceedings. Avoiding probate is advisable because the Houston probate process can be expensive, time-consuming, invasive, and overwhelming. Probate proceedings often rack up significant legal fees and executor fees that must be resolved before asset distribution, eating away at the overall value of the estate. If there are properties in different states, families may have to go through multiple probate proceedings.
Additionally, probate can take upwards of a year, and during this time, assets are typically frozen. The probate process can be unnecessarily invasive because it is a public process. This means that any interested party may have access to a person’s debts and named beneficiaries. Finally, families often lose control during this process, as they do not have any say as to how long the process will take.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney for Immediate Assistance
If you are interested in seeing how you may be able to avoid the probate process, the estate planning and elder law attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, can help. For decades, we have created effective estate planning documents on behalf of our clients. Our law firm attorneys take a comprehensive approach to ensuring that our clients address all of their estate and long-term planning needs. We assist clients from all backgrounds and of varying net worth. Contact our office for an initial consultation at 713-333-8900, to discuss asset protection, retirement planning, or any other estate planning needs you may have.