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A will provides you with a little more control – the ability to determine who raises your children and you are able to dictate somewhat who receives what assets. One of largest downfall of a will, in my opinion, is that your family is forced to go through probate.

Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries. The best way I have heard it described in everyday terms is that it is a lawsuit your family is forced to file against themselves for the benefit of your creditors. Often times assets, especially bank accounts owned by the decedent, are frozen while the probate process runs its course. Texas is one of the more friendly probate states, however, the cost of probating a will is almost always greater than the cost to set up a revocable lifetime trust.

When everything has to pass through probate, the public divulgence of your property, resources, and beneficiaries is inevitable. The best way to keep your estate assets private is to avoid probate when possible.

In short, A will is a necessary tool in estate planning, but it is limited in what it can do. Such limitations can leave significant gaps that could cause delays or issues in the distribution of your estate and results in an overall lack of privacy. These limitations can be circumvented by combining a will with a trust.