The Law Offices of Kennedy & Jackson
713-783-7444 | Email
When a person dies and leaves a will, then the will’s executor must take the will through the probate process before the deceased person’s assets may be distributed. This process is known as probate administration.
Probate can be a costly process, both in terms of financial assets and time. Not only do the probate costs charge fees, but attorneys are usually required, and their fees must be paid. If the will is contested, then the resulting litigation will take even more time and money. Probate is also a public process — wills and all the related proceedings become part of the public record once they are filed with the probate court.
WITH A LIVING TRUST, PROBATE COURT MAY BE AVOIDED
In certain circumstances, an individual or a family may be interested in avoiding the probate process. A “living trust” is a legal document that may be used to accomplish the same goals as a will, with additional benefits that a will does not have.
With a living trust, an individual transfers ownership of property to a trust. The original owner of the assets acts as a trustee until death, at which time a successor trustee steps in as trustee. In practical terms, the “successor trustee” is much like the executor of a will.
Some of the benefits of a living trust include:
- A living trust does not need to go through probate, with the accompanying fees and time delays.
- A living trust contains built-in protections against disability. If one of the owners of the assets in the trust becomes disabled, then the other trustee — or one of the successor trustees, can step in directly to manage the assets. Wills do not contain built-in protections in the event of incapacitating disability.
- Living trusts are private legal documents that are not part of the public record.
- A living trust is more difficult to challenge in court than a will.
A LIVING TRUST SHOULD BE PART OF AN OVERALL ESTATE PLAN
Living trusts are complex legal documents, and their advantages can quickly become major disadvantages if they are set up without a complete understanding of how they operate.
At The Law Offices of Kennedy & Jackson, located in Houston, Texas, our probate attorneys have decades of experience advising a wide variety of families on the benefits and disadvantages of living trusts as part of an estate plan. Our lawyers have advanced knowledge of the complex laws and regulations governing estate planning, and are each board-certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF KENNEDY & JACKSON
Our law office is located in the Galleria area of Houston, with free on-site parking available next to our office building. We provide a complimentary — and confidential — initial consultation to all new potential clients.
To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers, call 713-783-7444 or send us an email.