Probate lawyers in Texas spend considerable time balancing legal obligations with the intended wishes of an individual who has passed away. Additionally, the probate lawyer may be pressured by survivors to get a particular outcome. There are also considerable taxes and the fact that everything is public to complicate the issue.
That is one of the biggest reasons that Texas probate lawyers are such big fans of living trusts. When an individual places assets into this kind of trust, it can avoid numerous problems during the probate process.
Protecting the Assets
One of the things a living trust can do is designate a trustee to manage the funds when you have an heir who is unable to do so for himself or herself. For example, the decedent may not wish for the entire inheritance to be distributed at once-say the beneficiary is young and there is concern the money will all be spent frivolously. If the assets go through probate, rather than a living trust, they will simply be dispersed. In this way, the trust offers protection of the assets left behind, as well as those who inherit.
Protecting the Heirs
A living trust can also protect the beneficiaries from court costs. There may still be estate taxes to take into consideration, but they will likely be far less damaging than if a probate lawyer has to take the entire thing through the Texas courts. In the end, that is more money in the hands of the people you want it to reach, rather than to court fees and lawyer expenses. In fact, a living trust does not get included in the probate process at all.
Protecting Your Wishes
Many people are surprised to learn that even if they have a will, the estate will still have to go through probate. It is not particularly uncommon for a Texas probate lawyer to have to contend with family members who want to contest the will during this process. A living trust is less likely to be contested, mainly because the person creating the trust will often have made many decisions regarding it throughout his or her life (transferring assets, distributing funds, investment decisions). It is difficult to assert that the grantor was unduly influenced or somehow incompetent every step of the way.
Protecting Your Privacy
As mentioned above, the probate process is public. A probate lawyer in Texas has to file all types of documents with the courts, most of which become public information. A living trust, on the other hand, is kept private. Not only does this help keep family affairs confidential, but it also protects heirs from being preyed upon by scammers and con-men who search public records for targets.
A living trust is not the right choice for every situation, but it is certainly something that should be considered with an attorney. Probate lawyers in Texas see how beneficial they can be every day.