Control What Happens to Your Estate
Learn the Benefits of a Living Trust in Texas
A will declares your intentions for distributing your assets, but a living trust takes it a step further. Done properly, this estate planning tool avoids the hassle and costs of probate, reduces taxes for your heirs as well as providing them with creditor protection, assures privacy and provides for your own care if you become disabled.
The Livens Law Firm of Bedford, Texas, extends full-service estate planning, tax planning, nursing home planning and wealth preservation strategies to clients in Dallas County and Tarrant County, the DFW Metroplex and statewide. Contact us today for an in-depth but plain English discussion of living trusts or any estate-related matters.
What Is a Living Trust?
When you die, your estate passes to the people named in your will after a long trip through probate court. A trust is a legal entity that transfers designated assets outside of your probated estate upon death. The assets are held in the name of the trust for the benefit of appointed beneficiaries, so those persons do not technically own them.
A revocable living trust enables you to control your estate while alive (access assets, alter who inherits). It is also more specific than a will in indicating to whom, when and how assets are distributed.
Benefits of a Living Trust
- No probate — The probate process takes months, consumes a percentage of the assets and is public record. Trust administration is quick, inexpensive and completely private.
- Creditor protection — Upon your death, the assets are transferred (not directly to your beneficiaries) to a trust(s) that will protect your beneficiaries from creditors and predators (divorces).
- Estate tax reduction — Your spouse is exempt from estate taxes (up to a marital exclusion amount). When that spouse dies, your children become beneficiaries of the remaining trust assets, eliminating or minimizing estate taxes.
- Health care — Our living trusts include detailed instructions in the event of your incapacity. For example, you can specify that the trust pays for at-home nursing or assisted care as long as possible before a nursing home is necessary.
The number one reason that living trusts fail is that people don't fund them. Funding a trust simply means designating the trust as owner or beneficiary of each asset. Every asset must be properly funded, or it will revert to probate and be fair game for creditors and tax authorities. We are always available to help clients with these details at no additional fee.
Attorney Stephen J. Livens and his team will tailor your trust in accordance with your "big picture" desires. We are familiar with many variations on living trusts and the applicable state and federal tax laws. Call us at (800) 569-2663 to arrange a free initial consultation.