If I Have a Trust, Do I Need a Will?

Law Office of Robert L. Firth Dec. 27, 2019

The process of setting up your estate plan may seem overwhelming. There are a lot of questions that come up. One of the most common questions we hear is, “If I have a trust, do I need a will?”

Many people believe that the two tools are interchangeable. Even if you have a trust, it is likely that you still need a will in your estate plan. Our estate planning attorney in Palm Springs can help you understand your best options.

If I Have a Trust, Do I Need a Will?

Trusts and wills are separate estate planning tools. Having one does not mean that the other is redundant or unnecessary. Both options have shortcomings that can be addressed by using the other.

A will can do several things that a trust cannot. For example, with a will:

  • Parents can name guardians for their minor children.

  • You can ensure that property not included in a trust is distributed appropriately.

If I Have a Will, Do I Need a Trust?

Some individuals start their estate planning process by drafting a will. While a will is a valuable estate planning tool, many people find it beneficial to have both a will and a trust.

Assets included in a will must go through the probate process. Probate can take months or years. It delays asset distribution and requires the personal representative or executor to spend a lot of time managing the estate. Assets in a trust do not have to go through probate and may be immediately distributed.

When you create a trust, you can also plan for the possibility of becoming incapacitated. A will does not go into effect until the testator dies. If you become incapacitated, the trust’s named trustee can take over. This allows them to maintain your assets right away, rather than having to go through court.

Benefits of Working with A Palm Desert Estate Planning Attorney

Creating a thorough estate plan is complex. Unfortunately, errors made during the planning process often do not come to light until it is too late to fix them. We recommend that you work with an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Our estate planning attorney in Palm Springs can ensure that your documents are written (and filed) properly, reviewed on a regular basis, and updated to reflect legal and family changes.

Meet Your Goals with A Palm Desert Estate Planning Attorney

Attorney Robert L. Firth understands how important it is to have a solid estate plan. He works with clients from all walks of life to help them create plans that protect their assets and family. Having drafted over 2,500 estate plans, he rarely sees something he hasn’t dealt with before. Take the first step now and call Law Offices of Robert L. Firth to set up an appointment.