Estate Planning Pitfall
Many people mistakenly believe that if they have a living trust — also known as a revocable trust — they don’t need a will. After all, a primary purpose of a living trust is to avoid probate and ensure that your wealth is distributed quickly and efficiently after your death.
But even if you have a living trust, a will serves several important purposes. For example, a will generally is the only place you can name a guardian for minor children, if you have them.
In addition, despite your best efforts, some assets may not make it into your trust. For a living trust to be effective, assets must be titled in the name of the trust. Unfortunately, it’s easy to acquire assets and forget to transfer title to your trust. A “pour-over” will serves as a safety net to ensure that any assets you neglect to transfer during your lifetime are “poured over” into the trust.Assets disposed of by a pour-over will must go through the probate process to be transferred to the trust. Still, this result is preferable to having no will. Without a will, any probate assets you own outside your revocable trust will pass to your heirs under state intestacy laws rather than to the beneficiaries of your living trust. •