Wills vs. Trusts: Which One Is Right For You?

Creating a Will is an invaluable tool for passing your assets to your loved ones, but it isn’t the only way to achieve your goals.

There are an array of options beyond a Will in the estate planning universe. Among the most useful (and varied) options are Trusts.

A Trust is an agreement created between the “Grantor” and the “Trustee” in which the Grantor transfers an interest in assets to the Trustee who manages said assets for the benefit of the “Beneficiary”. The most desired form of Trusts are:

  • Revocable Trusts, which can be altered by the Grantor at any point prior to Grantor’s death, and
  • Irrevocable Trusts, which are unchangeable by the Grantor after creation (though certain provisions of the Trust can be changed by the Trustee).

Revocable Trusts are often used in estate planning to effectively take the place of a Will (though a simple “pour-over” Will leaving everything not previously transferred to the Revocable Trust is still needed).

While Wills and Revocable Trusts are functionally related in many ways, one of the key differences between a Will and a Trust is how and when each of them becomes effective. Wills become effective only after your passing and need to be validated through a court procedure called probate.

Revocable Trusts on the other hand become valid once properly signed by the Grantor and Trustee and are funded. Trusts are not generally subject to probate proceedings through the courts.

On radio broadcasts and the like, much speculation has been done about the “need to avoid probate.” However, probate proceedings in Texas are quite efficient and relatively inexpensive, and using Wills is still widely used as the main estate planning tool.

However, using Revocable Trusts with Pour-Over Wills is recommended in many situations, such as planning for incapacity, achieving enhanced control and precision regarding the disposition of specific assets, or even planning for anticipated litigation after the Grantor’s passing.

Revocable Trusts are commonly used by families who desire increased privacy. Wills, once probated, are public records and accessible by anyone who has a desire to see them. Revocable Trusts are not a matter of public record and can only be viewed by people with an interest in the Trust.

Our experienced law firm can give you peace of mind for the future. If you want to discuss creating a Will or Trust to ensure that your legacy is transferred to your loved ones efficiently, do not hesitate to contact our office by visiting our website at www.brewer-law.com or call us directly at 281-359-8686.

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