When you create your estate plan, you may use a revocable trust to hold your assets. With a revocable, or living, trust, you may not feel you need a will. Since your inheritance goes through your trust, you might not think it necessary to have anything else in place.
However, as part of your plan, you may still need to create a last will and testament. A living trust can make sure your estate avoids probate and distributes to your family right away. But if you don’t get all your assets in the trust before you pass away, you may want to have a pour-over will in place.
Using a living trust to avoid probate
When you create a living trust, you turn over ownership of your assets. You stay in control of your property as the trustee, but the trust technically becomes the owner. When you pass away, your estate avoids the lengthy and costly process of probate.
All your assets should be in the living trust to make it successful
However, you may not have a chance to transfer all your assets before you pass away. Whether you forget to move something or purchase property right before you die, any assets left in your name will go through probate. And if you don’t have a will, the court will follow intestacy laws. These laws ignore your wishes when distributing assets
Pour any remaining assets into your trust
To avoid the court dividing your property, you can create a pour-over will. You create a will that leaves any of your possessions to your trust. While those assets still go through the probate process, the court will transfer them to your trust. Then your trustee can distribute your estate based on your wishes.
Creating a whole and complete plan
A living trust can be a useful part of your estate plan, but it is only one part. A good plan will have multiple components that ensure your estate follows your wishes while avoiding excessive taxes or fees.
If you have a living trust as part of your plan, you may want to consider pairing it with a pour-over will.