A typical estate plan will have either a will or a trust as a means of controlling where assets go after you die. They may also be used to dictate who cares for your children after you pass. It’s possible that you will have both a will and a trust to ensure that your estate planning needs are met while still conforming to Texas law.
A will allows you to allocate assets that are held within your estate at the time of your death. These assets may include your home, car or funds inside of a bank account. It also gives you the chance to name the person who will represent your estate during probate. One of the key differences between wills and trusts is that a will only takes effect after you die. Therefore, it may offer little protection on its own in the event that you become incapacitated.
A trust allows you to hold assets outside of your estate, which means that they will not be subject to probate. Instead of an estate representative, you will appoint a trustee who can manage assets or take other steps in the event that you become incapacitated. This means that you won’t risk falling behind on your mortgage or leaving your kids without the resources needed to survive if something were to happen to you.
Ideally, you will review your estate plan at least once a year to ensure that it is structured properly. If not, you can generally alter, revoke or otherwise make changes to some or all of the plan documents assuming that you are of sound mind. It may also be a good idea to review your plan after a major life event.