If you are using a Living Trust as a will substitute, you will still need an estate planning tool known as a pour-over will. Why?
1. A pour-over will names a Guardian to minor children.
Naming a Guardian to your children is one of the primary reasons parents draft a will, and this task cannot be handled by creating a trust.
2. A pour-over will names an Executor to the estate.
A pour-over will names an Executor and at least one backup Executor, should the primary choice be unwilling or unable to serve in that capacity. If you have a properly drafted and funded trust, your Executor is not going to be tasked as much as as the Executor of an estate using primarily a will to transfer property, since property within a Trust avoids probate. But an Executor will still have duties, such as filing a tax return for the estate, paying debts and expenses and other administration tasks.
3. A pour-over will puts property into the trust.
A pour-over will directs an estate’s Executor to transfer all property into the Trust that is not already held within the Trust when you pass . This will allow the Trust to act as the main document to distribute your property. A pour-over will normally has only one beneficiary, and that will be the Trust.
Usually, the main assets and property of an estate are held by the Trust, while a pour-over will would cover any smaller property that was not transferred when the Trust was created. If the property covered by the pour-over will is low enough in value, that property may still avoid probate. However, if you missed transferring a higher valued piece of property to the Trust, it may still be subject to probate based on the Probate laws of your state.
It is important when dealing with wills and trusts to use an estate planning attorney, as these documents must coordinate and work together to achieve your estate planning objectives.