Two of the most basic components of a Texas estate plan are wills and trusts, but many people don’t fully understand the importance of these crucial documents. Some think that these structures are only for the rich, while others may not realize that wills and trusts can provide multiple advantages when properly drafted. However, the truth is that both have a place in a well-developed estate plan. Together, wills and trusts can ensure your intentions come to fruition upon your passing, you may realize some benefits even before you die.
Because of their critical role and the potential for disastrous, expensive mistakes, you should always trust an experienced attorney to assist with wills and trusts. At Hargrave Law, PC, our team is knowledgeable in the relevant Texas laws and experienced in advising clients on how to incorporate these documents into an estate plan. Please contact our office to set up a consultation with a wills and trusts lawyer, and take time to review some of the basics.
Key Provisions and Function of a Will in Texas
Your will is the most basic component of your estate plan, and it generally covers the process for handling your final affairs when you die. There are multiple requirements for will formation under Texas law, including:
- You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind and body;
- The document must be in writing and signed by you, or by another person at your direction; and,
- There must be at least two disinterested individuals at least 14 or older who witness execution of the will.
These requirements for a will’s execution are important, but the core provisions of your will contain your instructions and wishes on what happens to your assets upon death. The specifics are personal to each individual, and our team at Hargrave Law, PC can discuss how to incorporate language that aligns with your intentions. The basics include:
- Naming your executor and a successor;
- Designating who will inherit your assets;
- Making specific bequests of items you want given to a designated individual;
- Appointing a guardian who will care for minor children and their assets, which a court must approve; and,
- Disinheriting certain individuals, if you wish.
Creating a Trust in Your Estate Plan
You may want to consider a trust as part of estate planning under certain circumstances. Examples are for tax planning, asset protection, providing for younger beneficiaries, and restricting irresponsible spending by certain recipients.
As grantor in a revocable trust, you create the trust and appoint a trustee, who will manage assets that are titled in the trust’s name. During your lifetime, you designate yourself as beneficiary of trust principal and interest. The goal for some people is to add real estate and personal property to the trust through their lifetimes, so that they own little upon death. As a result, these assets don’t go through the probate process.
However, there are other types of trusts to consider in your estate plan, depending on your goals. We can explain the purposes and benefits of special needs trusts, Crummey trusts, irrevocable trusts, asset protection trusts, and many more.
Consult with a Texas Wills and Trusts Attorney About Your Options
This general summary about wills and trusts may be useful, but it doesn’t replace the need for qualified legal counsel when you’re making arrangements for your estate plan. Instead of attempting to work out the details on your own, trust our team at Hargrave Law, PC to help with recommendations, drafting, signing, and other essential tasks. To learn more about our legal services in the area of wills and trusts, please call 817-282-0679 or visit our website to schedule an appointment at our offices in Bedford, Carrollton, or Grapevine, TX.