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Hood County trusts attorneyMost people equate estate planning with writing a last will and testament. While a will is a crucial element of most estate plans, it is not the only estate planning instrument available. Individuals with complex estates, significant wealth, or special needs often require additional planning tools. An irrevocable trust is an estate planning tool that can be used to provide asset protection, tax benefits, and asset management. However, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of an irrevocable trust before deciding to utilize it.

The Difference Between a Revocable Trust and an Irrevocable Trust

Trusts allow the trust maker, called the grantor, to transfer assets to the trust under the care of a third party, called a trustee. The trustee manages the assets and handles the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. Unlike assets distributed through a will, assets held in a trust usually do not have to pass through probate. 

Revocable trusts can be amended or revoked by the grantor at any time during his or her lifetime. In contrast, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed once it is established. 

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Tarrant County estate planning lawyersIf your child has a severe physical or mental disability, you know just how important it is for them to have the right type of care. One concern many parents have is what will happen to their disabled child after they have passed away. Your child may depend on you for daily needs like bathing and eating as well as money management and other financial needs. How will your child receive care and assistance after you are no longer around to provide this care yourself?

A special needs trust is an estate planning instrument that allows you to place funds in a trust that are used for your child’s benefit. Read on to learn more about the advantages of using a trust and what you can do to get started.

Basics of a Special Needs Trust  

A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust is a fiduciary relationship often used to transfer funds to benefit a disabled person. The person who creates the trust, the grantor, transfers money into the trust. A trustee is tasked with managing these funds and using the money to benefit the beneficiary. Trust funds may be used to pay for medical needs, caretaking or home healthcare expenses, transportation, and other needs.

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Tarrant County Probate Litigation LawyerAfter the death of a loved one, families often have to deal with far more than just their grief. The deceased person's estate must go through probate, which is the legal process of settling their affairs. This includes distributing their assets and property to their heirs and paying any debts and taxes owed. In many cases, probate can be a straightforward process. However, there are some cases where probate can become contentious, particularly if there are disputes about the deceased person's will. In these situations, probate litigation may be necessary. Estate executors, family members, or others who become involved in probate litigation will need to seek out an experienced attorney who can help navigate the legal process and protect their interests.

Issues That May Be Resolved Through Probate Litigation

Multiple types of disputes may arise during the probate process, and probate litigation may be used to resolve issues related to:

  • Validity of a will - In some cases, family members may be surprised to learn that the will filed by the executor of the estate was different than what they expected. This may cause them to believe that someone has acted wrongfully and attempted to subvert their loved one's wishes, such as by convincing them to change their will or even submitting a falsified document in court. The validity of a will may be challenged during the probate process, and these challenges must usually be based on one of the following grounds:

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Hood County estate planning lawyersIf you have a loved one with special needs, you may be looking for ways to provide for their future. One option is to set up a special needs trust. A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that can help you manage assets for your loved one's benefit. There are many advantages to using a special needs trust, and this blog will discuss some of the key benefits.

Supplemental Needs Trusts in Texas 

Special needs trusts, also called supplemental needs trusts, ensure that a disabled person or an individual with special needs receives the care he or she needs. For example, a grandmother caring for a grandchild with cerebral palsy may worry about the care her grandchild will receive once she has passed away. In a situation like this, a special needs trust may be set up to provide consistent financial support for the child even after the grandmother dies. Funds from a special needs trust may be used to pay for medical expenses, in-home care, therapy, housing, and other needs. 

Protecting Assets and Supplementing Government Benefits 

One of the main advantages of using a special needs trust is that it can help you protect your loved one's eligibility for government benefits. If your loved one has significant assets in his or her own name, he or she may not be eligible for needs-based government benefits like Medicaid. However, if the assets are held in a trust, the assets will not be counted when determining eligibility for government benefits. 

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