At Stepp & Sullivan, our will and trust attorneys know that one of the most pressing questions our Texas estate planning clients have is what is the difference between a will and a trust, and which one is right for their unique needs.
Since there is no definitive answer, the best approach is to understand what your estate comprises and your goals to preserve it for your kids or other beneficiaries once you are gone.
Here are a few things our experienced Houston estate planning attorneys want our Texas residents to know when deciding what is best for their families.
What are the Primary Differences Between Wills & Trusts?
While both wills and trusts are designed for the same purpose, which is to name an individual to carry out their wishes and identify any beneficiaries who will receive the assets named therein, they operate differently.
A will is a document designed to explain how the individual who wrote it wants their assets distributed upon their death. Before this can happen, the will must be proven valid in court and must go through the probate process to oversee the transfer of assets to the legal heirs.
A trust, on the other hand, goes into effect immediately, while the person who wrote it is still living.
A trust is a legal arrangement where the trustee which can be a person or an institution holds the legal title to the property on behalf of someone else.
Often, trusts involve what is called a living, or revocable trust. In the latter, the creator receives income from the trust during their life, and the remainder goes to the intended beneficiary when they pass away.
What are the Benefits of Creating a Will or Trust in Texas?
Depending on your estate and future financial goals, the benefits differ.
First, a will is simple to create and update and should be updated as time goes by.
A will allows its author to appoint an executor to manage the estate, as well as a guardian for minors, in case a tragedy occurs, and he or she is no longer there to care for the child(ren).
Conversely, the biggest benefit of a trust is that the assets do not likely have to go through probate, which will save the grantor’s family both time and money and will allow the assets named therein to transfer directly to the beneficiary privately without any legal or judicial interference.
Trusts can also be used to protect funds for a minor, setting an age or life event when the funds will be transferred while naming a trustee to manage them until then.
Depending on your unique financial needs and planning goals, one may be better than the other, and we can help you determine each benefit or drawback, so you can make informed decisions about your estate.
Contact Our Houston Will and Trust Attorney at Stepp & Sullivan For a Consultation
If you would like help ensuring you are making the best estate planning decisions for your family, contact our will and trust attorneys today at 713-336-7200 or online to learn more about the legal requirements necessary to establish your legacy without leaving a single detail to chance.