Wills are an essential document for every adult, whether you have a simple estate or a complex plan with multiple trusts, beneficiary clauses, and other means of transferring assets. A will provides a safety net to catch assets left out of other parts of your plans. Without a will, critical assets may pass following the Texas laws of intestate succession rather than according to your wishes.
If you don’t have a will, or if your will has not been reviewed in years, it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney. At Anderson Estate Planning, we can prepare a simple will that coordinates with other components of your plan or a detailed will that establishes critical protections for loved ones, such as testamentary trusts.
A Will Can Accomplish Goals That Trusts Cannot
In a will, you can name an executor to handle your estate after you pass. If you have a living trust with a successor trustee, designating the same person as executor can reinforce the validity of your documents and provide reassurance to loved ones.
A will allows you to name a guardian for your minor children. You cannot name guardians in a trust. If both parents pass away without designating a guardian, a court could award appoint someone you would find entirely inappropriate for this critical role.
In some cases, you can include instructions for distributing assets or paying bills through a will that you cannot easily do through a trust. Remember that trusts only manage property that has been transferred into the trust. Assets that are newly acquired or missed could be left out of a trust. Often estate planning attorneys create a simple “pour-over will” to cover assets not included in trusts or other estate planning vehicles.
A Will Can Provide Comfort for Loved Ones
In your will, you can make specific bequests of property to friends and family members. You can ensure the loved ones you want to help receive the assets you wish to provide. Without a will, those assets could go to someone you no longer consider a part of your family, causing pain and confusion and possibly leading to family conflict.
By naming an executor in your will, you let everyone know who should be in charge, which can also reduce uncertainty and conflict. Naming an executor and beneficiaries also can expedite the probate process because the court will not have to search for appropriate candidates for administration and determine the identities and locations of potential heirs.
Work with an Experienced Estate Planning Team to Create the Right Will for Your Situation
To determine the issues to be addressed in your will, it is essential to review your circumstances, including other estate planning documents you already may have. At Anderson Estate Planning, we take the time to understand your needs, goals, and desires to recommend and prepare the appropriate will for you. We invite you to schedule a consultation to create or update your will and other critical components of your estate plan.