Skip to Content

Understanding the basic tools of the estate planning process


Every Texas adult will need to go through the estate planning process. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a one-and-done type of deal. Rather, estate planning is an ongoing process that should be reviewed every three to five years to ensure that it’s updated. If you are now just getting started, there are a few times you’re going to want to get familiar with.

Wills and trusts

Two of the most common terms that you’re going to hear about are wills and trusts. A will is a popular estate planning tool that allows one to specify how they want their affairs to be handled upon their death. This includes how they want their funeral or memorial service to be held, how they want their assets distributed, and who should be the guardian of their minor children. Trusts are another type of estate planning tool that allows a person to transfer their legal property into the trust and let somebody else be the managing trustee for the account. Both of these tools play their own part in helping a person plan out what’s going to happen to their estate.

What about probate?

Wills and probate are two terms that are used together a lot. While you now know what a will is, you also need to understand what probate is. After a person’s death, their will goes into a process called probate. This is a legal process where the will is reviewed to ensure its validity, and the actions requested in the will are taken by the executor.

Estate planning can seem like a very complex process to begin with. In reality, it can be a fairly simple one once you understand the tools that are at your disposal.