Should I Set Up a Trust?
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Should I Set Up a Trust?

The answer to the question “should I set up a trust instead of a Will?” often arises when people contact me for estate planning purposes. My answer to that question is one often uttered and not often deemed helpful by the recipient, and that answer is “it depends.”  When people think of a trust, they generally think, “I don’t want to avoid probate and that whole process for my loved ones.” What many people do not realize is that there are, in certain cases, probate alternatives. (See my blog “How Do I Avoid Probate?”). The purpose of this article, however, is to walk through the decision making and pros and cons involved in choosing a Will-based estate plan or a Trust-based estate plan. Starting with…

How Do I Avoid Probate?

How Do I Avoid Probate?

People often express a strong desire for avoiding probate when discussing their own death of the death of a loved one. My first response to them as a Texas attorney is usually something along the lines of “I understand where you’re coming from, but A) Texas probate generally is not a horribly long or terribly expensive process; and B) there are many times probate alternatives.” Avoiding probate is possible—even without setting up trusts for your assets during your lifetime, although revocable living trusts (also called “grantor trusts”) are one way of planning for probate avoidance.  (See my blog, “Should I Set Up a Trust?”). This article, however, delves into some of the probate alternatives where Wills are involved, instead of trusts.  I always explore the possibility…

How Often Should I Update My Will or Trust?

How Often Should I Update My Will or Trust?

When it comes to planning for the future, creating a Will or a living trust is a crucial step in ensuring your wishes are carried out after you’re gone. But simply creating an estate plan (whether a Will or a trust) isn’t enough. Life is constantly changing, and as such, your estate plan should reflect those changes to remain relevant and effective. So how often should you update your estate planning documents? Major Life Events A good rule of thumb is to review your estate planning documents after any major life event. This includes events such as marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or the death of a beneficiary, trustee or executor named in those documents. Additionally, sometimes similar life-changing events in the…