I get asked this question a lot: “If I have a trust, do I need a will?”
The short answer is: “Yes, you do.” Of course, the next natural question is “why?”
To understand the why, it’s helpful to first see the probate problem that can arise even when a Revocable Living Trust is in place. At the time of death, if there are any assets that have not already been transferred to the trust, they are not subject to the rules of the trust or how the trust instructs the transfer of assets. Yet these “non-trust assets” remain in the estate of the person who died and are subject to probate. The beneficiaries that receive these assets through probate could differ from those named in the revocable trust. Even if the beneficiaries are the same, it’s nevertheless a long and expensive court process. Thus, the beneficiaries and family can be left dealing with a mess, unintended consequences, family discord, and probate, all which defeat the main goals which motivate many Californians to create a revocable living trust.
The solution to the problem is to create a safety net to prevent the unenviable outcome we just described. Enter the “Pour-Over Will.” Watch this brief video to learn more about what it is, how it works, and why everyone who has a Revocable Living Trust needs one.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He’s all about family and passionate about estate planning, elder law, and veterans. He founded Snyder Law to help people be prepared and have the peace of mind they are protecting their families and aging parents for when life happens.