Many clients will choose a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) as the foundation of their estate plans. A person who dies with a Will or other dispositive document is referred to as dying “testate” or, if they should die without a Will, it is said they died “intestate.” If a person dies testate they have the opportunity to control who, how and how much their beneficiaries receive
A Will is the your opportunity to control the disposition of your assets at the time of your death. It is a document which must meet strict criteria in order to be valid and able to be “probated” by the court at the time of the your death. With a Will, you can do the following:
- Select your Executor (the person who will handle the administration of your estate)
- Transfer your assets according to your plan vs. the “State of Texas” plan
- Designate a guardian for your minor children
- Make charitable gifts
- Protect your pets
- Minimize and possibly eliminate your estate tax burden
- Disinherit a family member
- Control how and when your children or beneficiaries receive your estate
- Protect property in the case of the “blended” family
- Protect same sex partners and spouses
- Protect your estate from “creditors and predators”
Can I protect my spouse and children's inheritance from "creditors and predators"?
Yes, with proper planning. We often incorporate irrevocable trust planning to provide protection for the surviving spouse by holding a portion of the estate in a trust that pays income and principal to the surviving spouse but retains creditor protection and protection of your family from remarriage.
Also, instead of leaving your assets equally to your spouse or your children outright, why not leave it to your children in "Dynasty Trusts" – lifetime irrevocable inheritance trusts. These trusts, if properly drafted, can protect your child's inheritance from a spouse in the event of divorce; protect your child's inheritance from creditors in the event of a financial hardship; and upon your child's death the unused assets can be protected for your grandchildren.