Do You Need a Will If You Have a Living Trust?

June 19, 2020

Wills and living trusts are among the most important estate planning documents an individual can create. Yet does one cancel out the other? Take a moment to learn about wills and living trusts, and why you may need both to create a solid estate plan with help from your Los Angeles accounting service

What a Will Does That a Trust Can’t

A living trust concerns assets you wish to transfer to your beneficiaries upon your passing, such as real estate and vehicles. Living trusts rarely include everything you own, as some assets may involve different distribution instructions. You might also acquire property after you create the trust, such as assorted vacation properties. Wills additionally provide services living trusts do not include, such as naming guardians for minor children and eliminating debts owed to you by friends and family. If you have underage children, debts you wish to forgive, and or other property you do not want included in the trust, you need a will. 

A Will Provides a Form of Insurance

If you make a living trust but forgo the will, all property you didn’t transfer under the trust or make other arrangements for, such as a joint tenancy, becomes subject to probate court. The state distributes the property to your closest relations, such as your siblings if you are unmarried and do not have children. Rather than allowing your assets to become subject to state law and distributed in a way you would not approve of, create a viable will that’s admissible in court. Will laws vary by state; however, most require at least two witnesses of sound mind. 

It’s Still a Good Idea to Create a Trust

As important as wills are, they still require review in probate court before your beneficiaries can obtain your assets. Living trusts eliminate probate by transferring assets directly to beneficiaries. If you have a sizable estate with different distribution needs, consider creating a living trust and a will. The assets you want your beneficiaries to receive will not involve lengthy, expensive probate proceedings. 

Discuss your estate planning goals with the Encino tax consultants at Wallace & Associates. The Los Angeles accountant service provides estate planning assistance to help area residents manage their assets exactly as they wish.