Beyond Wills and Trusts: Creative Estate Planning Tools

Besides wills and trusts, what other estate planning tools could benefit my family?

When most of us hear the term estate planning, we think of wills.  Wills are perhaps the most common estate planning tool, and for a good reason.  With a will, you can dictate who will receive what assets, allowing you control over your legacy.  In addition to having a will, many people utilize trusts as a part of their estate plan.  Trusts allow you to bypass the probate process, saving time and money.  What many Texans do not realize, however, is that alternatives exist beyond traditional wills and trusts.  Our Round Rock estate planning attorneys at Gerald Winters, P.C. explore two estate planning tools you may wish to consider as a part of your comprehensive estate plan.  

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

Limited liability companies (LLCSs) are generally considered business entities, but they can also serve an important purpose in estate planning.  When you create an LLC, you will be able to transfer assets into it.  Assets vary and can include real estate, bank accounts, stocks, and more.  You can then name your children or other family members as members of the LLC, providing them an ownership interest.  By naming yourself as manager, you can continue to control the property within the LLC during your lifetime.  As an added benefit, assets within the trust are protected from personal lawsuits filed against you and other LLC members.

Letters of Instruction

A letter of instruction can be used to convey information to your family or personal representative.  Letters of instruction are not intended to replace a will or a trust, but can be used in conjunction with these basic estate planning tools in order to provide your heirs with important details they will need to know in the event of your death.  Your letter of instruction might, for example, provide contact information relating to your assets, such as bank, insurance, and other financial information.  You may also list specifics concerning your firearms which you will pass down to your heirs.  Along with your will, trust, and other estate planning tools, your letter of instruction could assist your personal representative in carrying out your last wishes.

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