Sloan Docs Resource Center

A will states who assumes ownership of your assets and belongings after you die If you don’t write a will, your assets are distributed according to plans outlined in your state’s intestacy laws.

A will also allows you to:

  • Select guardians for your children
  • Decide who you want as your beneficiaries, including charities, if desired
  • Decide what assets your beneficiaries receive from your estate
  • Select your executor, who is someone you trust, to carry out your wishes in your Will

A will covers what happens when you die. It does not cover what happens if you were to be named incapacitated by a doctor (IE: put on life support or get diagnosed with dementia).

A Texas Statutory Durable Power of Attorney document authorizes the person you choose (your agent) to handle financial matters on your behalf if you are not able to.

You can set a power of attorney up to become active only if you are incapacitated, or you can create it so that it is effective immediately. A financial power of attorney does not grant the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. It is only effective during your lifetime, so it is no longer active once you pass away.

A Texas Medical Power of Attorney document authorizes the person you choose (your agent) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to.

An advance directive is a document that states what your wishes are for medical and end-of-life care should you be unable to make those decisions for yourself. This document is sometimes referred to as a living will. Sloan Docs can create a document for you which combines the advanced directive and Texas Medical Power of Attorney.

A trust is a document which creates a fiduciary relationship between a Grantor (person creating the trust) and a Trustee (person managing the Trust). The Trustee is responsible for managing the Trust property on behalf of the Trust beneficiaries. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable.

A revocable trust is something to consider as part of your estate plan. Not everyone needs a trust. Trusts have certain advantages over a will, but together, a will and a trust are often essential pieces of an estate plan.

A revocable living or “inter vivos” trust is a legal document that creates an entity for your use during your lifetime. You must transfer assets into the trust in order to “fund” the trust, or the trust will have no value. Still, you can use the assets during your lifetime as you see fit. The trust becomes the owner of the assets.

You are the “grantor” of the trust, and often the grantor is the trustee who manages the trust. You’ll appoint a successor trustee who takes over if you’re incapacitated or when you pass.

Trusts are beneficial because they allow the assets in the trust to:

  • Avoid going to probate
  • Be distributed to beneficiaries much faster than assets in a will
  • Avoid being public information; trusts are private
  • Be kept in the trust, if you desire, until a minor becomes a certain age before they inherit their trust property

While a trust costs more to set up than a will, it saves money later on by avoiding probate and keeps the entire death and probate process private within the family.