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A trust does not replace the need for a will

There is a common misconception that a trust can replace a will, but this is not true. Trusts have many benefits, including that they do not go through probate or become part of public record. However, life gets busy and is full of changes. If you forget or run out of time to put an asset in the trust, then it will be passed on according to Texas law, not necessarily according to your wishes.

Texas' intestate succession laws include a hierarchy of relatives who could inherit any items that were not put into a trust. The problem with this is that intestate succession laws provide a cookie-cutter approach that may not appropriately represent your life, your wishes or your closest relationships. However, you can take action to make sure all of your assets go to the people you care most about.

Do not overlook the importance of a will

Taking the time to fund your trust as completely as possible can be a good strategy to avoid intestate succession. However, even when you do that, it is prudent to draft a last will and testament.

A carefully drafted will can account for any items that do not make it into the trust before you pass away. You can name loved ones as beneficiaries to receive this property. You can also name your trust as the beneficiary, and have the items dispersed according to your trust.

You have worked hard for the assets you have, and you have a plan for how you would like those assets distributed. Don’t let any of your assets slip between the cracks and end up being distributed according to the state. To prevent this, every adult should have a will, even if he or she has a trust.

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