What a Will Can Do in Texas Estate Planning
A Last Will and Testament is one of the most basic estate planning documents. If your estate is relatively small, a Will may be the only document you need to direct the distribution of your property. If your estate is larger and you have one or more Trusts as part of your estate plan, you will need a pour-over Will to transfer assets not yet in a Trust at the time of death into the Trust.
Transfer Assets and Provide Instructions
There are a number of other reasons why a Will should be one of the documents we include in your estate plan:
- A Will is a simpler, more direct and less expensive way to leave assets to specific heirs
- You can include instructions for your funeral and burial in your Will
- You can name a guardian for your children
- Some of your heirs may prefer you transfer an inheritance outright, rather than through a Trust, managed by a Trustee
Provide Flexibility to an Heir
An inheritance can change a life. It can also have unintended consequences. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you anticipate the consequences of your gift. Your Will can include a provision that allows executors or beneficiaries to make decision that will be in their best interest at the time.
- A tax-planned Will provides flexibility to the executor of the estate to make tax elections and other decision that will save taxes for the estate or for beneficiaries.
- For high-net-worth heirs, provision should be made in the Will to allow an heir to disclaim assets (refuse the inheritance) in order to pass it along to another (a child/grandchild, for example). Passing along an inheritance in this way avoids triggering the IRS gift transfer limits so the full amount can (usually) be inherited without taxation.
Is a Will the Right Document for Your Estate?
When people ask if it wouldn’t be just as good, and cheaper, use a computer program or website to draft their Will, we can honestly say, “It might be cheaper but it certainly won’t be as good.” A Will is a powerful document. It can meet a variety of goals but most people will not understand its power, or its optimal use without advice from an attorney. Preparing a Will is only one part of a larger plan. Dallas estate planning lawyer Chris Parvin will help you understand how a Will fits into the bigger picture of your estate plan – what it can and cannot do.
Does Your Family Need A Trust?
Although a Last Will and Testament can serve as the core document for most estate plans, occasionally families need a higher level of planning that only a trust (or trust provisions in a Will) can provide. At essence, Trusts are documents that allow a person to name a beneficiary of an asset but also provide that a third person (a trustee) will hold and administer the asset for the benefit of the beneficiary. For example, if someone has a child who is addicted to drugs or disabled, or simply has a child who isn’t mature enough to handle the assets, then trust provisions would be appropriate. Trust provisions can be contained within a Last Will or as a stand-alone document (the main difference being that a Will would still need to be probated and a stand-alone trust document does not). We routinely prepare trusts and can help your family by creating trusts, if needed.
Make an appointment today to sit down with attorney Parvin to discuss your goals for protecting your assets and your family. Contact our Dallas law office online or call (214) 974-8940 to schedule a consultation for a Will preparation.