With a trust in your estate plan, do you still need a will?

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Friday, May 29, 2015.

By now, readers of this estate-planning blog might regard a question about the importance of a last will and testament as rhetorical. Our attorneys focus on wills and trusts and are well versed in the different legal estate-planning options available to individuals. Although an individual may have the goal of avoiding probate, a will is still a good idea for several reasons, even if an estate plan also includes trusts.

First, a trust applies only to specifically named assets. Assets not named in the trust document will not automatically be transferred into that trust upon a decedent's death. That's where a pour-over will can come in handy. A will allows an individual to state his or her intentions in more general terms, such as specifying that any leftover assets be retitled in the trust.

A will is also a good idea for parents, since it allows them to name a guardian for minor children. A power of attorney can also be assigned when writing a will. That provision is helpful in the event an individual becomes unable to make his or her own financial decisions, known as a springing power of attorney. Of course, there may also be situations where an individual wants to give a trusted individual immediate authority to sign as a fiduciary, which is known as a durable power of attorney.

Estate planning strives to honor an individual's wishes regarding the disposition of his or her assets. Our attorneys have legal, financial and insurance instruments at their disposal to help make such intentions a reality. Through the creation, coordination and use of legal estate-planning documents, an individual can plan for his or her unique circumstances.

Related post: "Are there other estate-planning tools besides wills and trusts?" Scaringi Law, May 9, 2015

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