Reasons to include a trust as part of an estate plan

A trust can be a useful part of an estate plan for people in Texas. Trusts are not just for the wealthiest people; they can allow an individual to control when and how beneficiaries receive assets and help ensure that children from a previous marriage are cared for.

Wills can be useful for naming an executor for the estate and appointing a guardian for minor children, but any assets passed using a will must go through the probate process. This is a legal process that can be time-consuming and expensive, and beneficiaries may not receive their assets for months. Wills may also be more vulnerable to challenges. With a trust, assets pass to individuals immediately.

However, people can also put provisions in the trust to delay when those assets are actually received. For example, a person may want children to get distributions on reaching the ages of 25 and 35. The person may also give the trustee the ability to make distributions at other important times, such as when the adult child wants to buy a home or get married. Trusts can also be part of a tax planning strategy. Like all estate planning documents, they should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they remain up to date based on an individual’s personal circumstances and existing laws.

An attorney may be helpful with a number of different aspects of estate planning and probate. Trusts can have many other uses, such as providing for family members who have special needs without affecting that family member’s access to government benefits. Trusts can also be created to provide income for a surviving spouse, donate to charity or protect assets from creditors. Individuals may want to create other estate planning documents as well, including making a plan in case of becoming incapacitated.