If I have a Living Trust, Do I Still Need a Will?

A very common question when having consults with client’s that are requesting to prepare a Trust, is “If I have a Trust, Do I still need a Will?” The most common and practical answer is yes, you do.

However, there is a different type of will that comes along with preparing a Trust, whether it is an Irrevocable, Revocable, or even Grand Children Spend Thrift Trusts. The Will that comes with a Trust is known as a Pour-Over Will. This Will’s intention is to simply pour-over any asset that has not already been transferred to the Trust.

For instance, say your Grandfather is an avid car collector and has transferred all of his vehicles with the exception of five. The five remaining vehicles are subject to Probate in order to transfer the title to the directed beneficiaries. However, since the main purpose of a Trust is to usually bypass Probate, that Pour-Over Will allows authority to evidence to the Court that it is not property subject to Probate and therefore, would get poured-over into the Trust and distributed accordingly.

Majority of Law Firms offer the ability to transfer assets to your Trust for a fee. However, if someone executes a Trust when they are twenty-five, and in turn within life obtains a home, vehicles, additional bank accounts and 401k’s, it is beneficial to always have a Pour-Over Will to ensure that these assets are protected.

The best scenario is to always inform your Attorney as to life changes and the assets that you gain as you mature during your lifetime. Attorneys prefer that you update them with address changes and phone numbers etc; however new properties is an essential asset that calls for informing your Attorney’s as well. This will insure that your assets and Estates are protected during and after your lifetime.

You must remember that a Trust is only as good as the assets you place within the Trust. Therefore, always remember to add all of your property within the Trust to fully secure all of your assets. When in doubt, and there is always one asset that has not been placed within the trust, request that a Pour-Over Will be drafted with your Living Trust documents. It is always better to be smart than sorry.