Livens & Reed, PLLC

Is it necessary to have a will if there is a trust?

Many people in Texas go to great lengths to make plans for the future, even including planning for a future in which they may no longer be present. Often, this includes the creation of important estate planning documents, including a trust. However, some people may be confused about whether they need a will in addition to a trust. 

Trusts are powerful tools that give those who create them a great deal of control over their estate. They do have testamentary benefits, meaning that they can transfer the decedent's assets upon his or her death. However, they can only do so for assets that have been transferred into the trust.

In some cases, an asset may be intentionally left out of the trust. In others, it may have been a simple oversight. However, any assets not placed in a trust become the subject of probate; if there is no will in place, asset distribution will occur according to state law rather than to the wishes laid out in the trust. Fortunately, a pour-over will can ensure that the person's wishes regarding asset distribution will be met even if not included in the trust. This will names the trust as the beneficiary, which will transfer any asset not already in the trust to it. 

The average person in Texas likely has little experience with the estate planning process, including the creation of wills and trusts. However, the decisions that are made in going through this process could significantly impact one's loved ones in the future. Having an experienced professional help make these important decisions can help ensure that an oversight will not create complications for loved ones in an already stressful time.

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