The Alphabet Soup of Comprehensive Estate Planning


Mark R. Ensign, JD, CPA

Attorney and Counselor at Law


LT  --  Living Trust

    The core document in a comprehensive estate plan.  Avoids costs and delays of guardianship and probate while maintaining control, ensuring privacy, and making distributions to loved ones.

DLPOA  --  Durable Limited Power of Attorney

    Appoints agent and limits power so assets may be only transferred into a living trust if owner incapacitated.

POW  --  Pour-Over Will

    Transfers into trust at death any assets owned outside of trust.  Only those assets will be subject to probate process.

DPAHC  --  Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

    Appoints agent, usually a loved one, to make health care decisions when one is not able to do so.

LW  --  Living Will

    Directs one's life not be prolonged by artificial means.

ILIT  --  Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

    Excludes life insurance from estate tax and provides funds to pay estate taxes or for distribution to the family.

FLP  --  Family Limited Partnership

    Isolates family assets reducing exposure to lawsuits for liability claims such as for accidents or for malpractice.

CRT  --  Charitable Trust

    A family of tools providing current income cash flow, income and estate tax savings, charitable benefits to society, and replacement assets for family.  Best for highly appreciated property.

        CRAT  --  Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust --  Fixed dollar amount paid to donor or donor's family.  Remainder of principal passes to charities selected by donor.

        CRUT  --  Charitable Remainder Unitrust  --   Fixed percentage of trust value paid to donor or donor's family.  Remainder of principal passes to charities selected by donor.

        CLT --  Charitable Lead Trust - Income paid to charities for a period.  Principal passes to donor's beneficiaries.

GRIT  --  Grantor Retained Interest Trusts

    A family of tools offering grantor current cash flow coupled with opportunities for estate tax savings, and transfer of assets to family.

        GRAT  --  Grantor Retained Annuity Trust - Fixed dollar amount paid to grantor for a period; then property passes to family.

        GRUT  --  Grantor Retained Unitrust - Fixed percentage of trust value paid to grantor; then property passes to family.

        QPRT  --  Qualified Personal Residence Trust - A GRIT for transfer of personal residence allowing use by grantor for a period of years; then residence passes to family.

LLC  --  Limited Liability Company

    Reduces personal exposure for business liability like a corporation but taxed like a partnership.

LLP  --  Limited Liability Partnership

    Reduces personal exposure in a partnership for the acts of other partners for which there is no personal responsibility.


Not certified by Texas State Board of Legal Specialization