Estate Planning FAQs
The Sawyer Law Firm PLLC in Fort Worth, Texas, represents clients in estate planning matters. For answers to your frequently asked questions about estate planning, read the information below or contact us online.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of planning for the transfer of an individual’s assets following his or her death. Estate planning is a very personal matter, and can vary greatly from person to person. Individuals are best served working with an attorney who knows how to effectively customize an estate plan according to an individual’s personal circumstances, particular asset holdings and goals.
What does an advanced estate plan include?
An “advanced” estate plan not only includes a thoughtful tax planning Last Will and Testament, but also entities created to own and operate certain assets including, but not limited to, Grantor Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, as well as Limited Liability Companies, limited partnerships and certain closely held corporations. Thus, “advanced” estate planning goes well beyond having only a will. Such an advanced plan would be customized to address your specific asset holdings as well as your wealth transfer desires.
What are the benefits of a trust?
One of the main benefits of a trust is that any property held in a trust can be protected from claims of creditors, i.e. a “spendthrift trust” and bypass the process of probate and challenges of property characterization in a divorce contest. Additionally, a trust designated to manage your assets provides for a smooth transfer of property if you become ill and have a trustee named. Our firm can help you set up a revocable living trust, testamentary trust, irrevocable life insurance trust, defective grantor trust, grantor retained annuity trust, and other types of trusts.
What happens when someone dies without a will?
Dying without a will is known as dying “intestate.” When this happens, the laws of Texas determine how assets are divided and the identity of your heirs at law.
My child is married and I do not trust his/her spouse. How can I keep my child’s inheritance out of his or her spouse’s grasp in case they get a divorce?
Parents can establish a trust for separate property, and designate their child as the beneficiary. If the in-law is not named as a beneficiary, they will have no rights in the trust estate. Alternatively or in conjunction with a trust, parents can create entities (limited liability companies or limited partnerships) and transfer assets to such entities; interests in such entities given or left to your child cannot be comingled; thus, these interests remain as your child’s separate property. Our firm can further explain you legal options.