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What is involved (expense and complexity) to purchase my home in a trust. What would be the benefits of doing this?

San Antonio, TX |

Do the the same unlimited homestead asset protection laws still apply? Also, are there any ongoing cost or just upfront cost? How long does this take? THANK YOU.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Depends on what type of trust you are talking about. Many people these days who have revocable living trusts as their main form of estate planning, will place (or buy and transfer) their home(s) in the living trust. The main purpose for this is to avoid probate. Probate occurs when an asset is owned by an individual who dies and it passes to heirs/beneficiaries by state law or will. This process, especially in certain states, can be expensive and time consuming. Using a living trust keeps the matter private and not under the purview of the probate court which is partly why it saves money. Having your house in the living trust is not always possible but it is usually beneficial. Once it is in the trust there isn't an ongoing cost while the grantor(s) (creator) is alive.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature.

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Steven M Zelinger

Steven M Zelinger

Posted

I might add that if you own real estate in multiple states the probate avoidance aspect is even greater. On the other hand, some states have easy probate...but even in those states, a living trust allows for management of the assets if the grantor is incapacitated which is an even greater benefit.

Posted

There are basically two good reasons to keep your home in a trust, estate tax avoidance (the current exemption limit is $5 million) and medicaid planning. The cost and complexity vary greatly. Most estate planning attorneys would be happy to have a brief consultation to determine your needs, if any.

Kendall Cockrell is an attorney with The Cockrell Law Firm in Beaumont, Texas. None of the opinions he states on this site constitute an attorney-client relationship. For more information, contact The Cockrell Law Firm. Contact information available on Kendall Cockrell's profile on this site.

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Posted

With a well drafted living trust, you can have homestead tax and asset protection just as if owning the home directly. The difficultly and cost are creating the trust instrument in the first place. I typically spend 20 minutes or so taking with my clients about all the reasons they might consider a living trust, so this isn't a question easily answered in this forum. I will just say that in Texas, probate is easy and inexpensive and the trust route is usually more complex and not needed, absent estate tax or other particularized concerns

There is no legal relationship created or implied by the exchange of message on this website. All statements are not to be construed as legal advice but as general guidance. In all cases, an attorney should be retained to review the full circumstances and deliver advice consistent with the information learned.

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Posted

I assume you're talking about a revocable living trust. If you live in Texas and the property is also in Texas, unless you are anticipating your own future incapacity there may not be much benefit to doing so. In Texas probate avoidance isn't really a big issue. Our process is easy (and therefore inexpensive) and your inventory doesn't generally become public record. And unless you are diligent about placing all your assets into the trust throughout your life, you'd probably need a will anyway to "pour over" into the trust anything that wasn't there. I'd also point out that a trust can be something of a hassle to deal with if, for example, you ever want to take out a loan on the property. It's certainly not an impediment to doing so but adds an extra layer of complexity that all else equal, you'd probably rather avoid. That said, there are some circumstances when a living trust has value; I would just say that given Texas' easy probate process and the high estate tax exemption, absent special circumstances most people do not need it. All that said, your best bet is to visit with an estate planning attorney to discuss the best option for your specific situation.

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