If You Have a Trust, Do You Also Need a Last Will?

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning, Will Contest and Probate Litigation

Last Will and TrustIf you have a living trust in place, why would a person need a will?  The answer straightforward :  You need a last will to address what is to be done with any asset that you may have unintentionally left out of your living trust.  Some examples of how this could happen:

  1. You buy property, (say a house), then die or become incapacitated before you can transfer the property into your trust.
  2. You co-own a bank account with someone else with rights of survivorship (say a child). The co-owner predeceases you and you forget to name a new co-owner.
  3. Your credit card company returns money to you for a trip that was canceled because of your death and it needs to be deposited.

If an asset is not retitled and placed into your trust and has no co-owner or death beneficiary, it passes according to New Jersey intestacy laws, not according to the terms of your trust.  Thus, it could end up going to someone you don’t want to get it.

A pour-over will remedies the problem.  It directs any asset without a death beneficiary or co-owner that is not in your trust to be “poured over” into your living trust.  Although that asset will have to go to probate, at least it will eventually end up in your trust and go to the beneficiary or beneficiaries that you named in your trust, not to the people the law says must be supplemented with a pour-over will.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey estate planning matter.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney

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