How to Set Up a Trust Fund in Texas

By Lori Karnac

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A trust fund can be a secure and fiscally responsible way to ensure that your property is passed on to your heirs exactly according to your wishes. However, there are several variables that should be considered if you are setting up your trust in the state of Texas. . Most people set up a trust fund in order to avoid a long and expensive probate process. The state of Texas provides a simplified probate system and most wills are processed with only one court hearing, so a trust fund is not necessary if your only motivation is avoiding probate costs. You may want to proceed with a trust fund if you are disabled and in need of a trustee, if you own property outside of Texas, or if you want your estate planning to remain private.

Designate your trustee and beneficiaries. If you are doing a living trust you may name yourself as trustee. If you wish to name another person to handle your estate remember that they will hold legal title to your property and you need to ensure that you have someone who will honestly represent you and your heirs as the beneficiaries of your estate after your death. The Uniform Prudent Investors Act of Texas provides the legal standards to which trustees must adhere, including standards of care, and risk and return strategies. Your beneficiaries can be your heirs or any organization that you wish to support.

Organize and document your financial records. You will need a thorough inventory of all your financial assets. You will need title documentation for any property that you own. In Texas you can find property data online at the Texas county property records database. Any assets that do not have clear title, will need to be included on a separate Assigned Properties form.

Create the proper document for your trust fund. You will need at least four parts to your trust deed. First include a clear statement of the name of the trust and a declaration that you are transferring all the assets listed to the trust. Second, list the name of the trustee, and state any choices you have made for alternative or replacement trustees. Third, list your beneficiaries. Finally describe the terms of disbursement for your assets.

Have your trust fund documents notarized. In the state of Texas a trust fund is not legal unless it is certified by a notary public. You can find a notary in Texas by using the Secretary of States Notary database.

About the Author

Lori Karnac is a librarian, researcher and professor who has done academic research and writing since 1990. Karnac has written for the Key West Arts blog and "Artlurker" in Miami. She has a Master of Arts in library and information sciences from the University of California at Berkeley, and teaches academic research, art and design classes.

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