Learn more about your options for selecting the right estate plan for you and your loved ones.
Certain documents are almost universally recommended when an individual or couple has an estate plan prepared. These documents include:
1. “Standalone” Will OR a Trust & “Pour-over” Will
2. General Power of Attorney (selects an agent for financial/legal decisions)
3. Health Care Power of Attorney (selects an agent for medical decisions)
4. Advance Health Care Directive (declares wishes in end-of-life scenarios)
You will quickly notice that both a Will-based estate plan and a Trust-based estate plan include Wills. If you opt for a Will-based estate plan, your Will is the document responsible for distributing the entirety of your assets (though, unlike a Trust, those assets must first go through probate).
On the other hand, your Will works in conjunction with your Trust with a Trust-based estate plan. However, your Trust is the document primarily responsible for distributing your assets.
So, why does a Trust-based estate plan include a Will?
When you have a Trust, your Will (specifically called a “Pour-over Will”) acts as a safety net for any assets not appropriately titled to your Trust at your death. A Trust can only control or distribute property it owns, so if you forgot to move something to your Trust, your Pour-over would direct that all such property is gifted to your Trust. As a result, all your assets are in one tidy place, controlled by one set of instructions (your Trust).
Please give our office a call or email for a more comprehensive look at Wills vs. Trust.