Livens & Reed, PLLC

Estate planning with trusts for Texas extended families

It's important for grantors to know where their assets will be distributed in the event of their death. Estate planning can facilitate that and allows the grantor to name beneficiaries. Although this process is essential, it can also be complicated when dealing with an extended family in Texas. There are ways to curb the complications by creating a trust.

Understandably, many people want to make sure their spouse and children have financial security, and while a will may grant a spouse all of one's assets, there are issues that can come about. If the surviving spouse ends up incapacitated and is treated at a nursing home, the remaining children may end up with the bitter end of the stick due to the high costs of care. If the grantor has joint accounts with their spouse, the spouse is granted the entire balance, leaving the children with nothing. A trust can provide asset protection for surviving children and ensure the spouse has financial security.

Trusts also have flexibility, which allows a grantor to only allow a beneficiary a certain portion at a time, instead of in one lump sum. A special needs trust is suitable for grantors who have beneficiaries who receive some form of government benefits. This allows the beneficiaries to still receive their inheritance while keeping their benefits.

Estate planning allows Texas grantors to determine who will inherit their assets. It also gives certain family members authority over the grantor's finances in case they are unable to do so. Without a proper estate plan, assets may end up being distributed to unintended individuals. Since this can be challenging, and there is a substantial amount at stake, it's vital for grantors to obtain the right guidance from an estate planning professional to ensure wishes are carried out.

Source:, Carissa Giebel column: Estate planning for blended families, Carissa Giebel, Jan. 27, 2014

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