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Using a pour over-will with a trust

When asked if a couple needed both wills and a trust, one attorney with an estate planning background provided answers. Virginia residents might have questions about estate planning documents and want to know more about this piece of advice.

Due to testamentary benefits, trusts can be used to transfer assets after a person passes. This is also one of the basic functions of a will. However, a will is likely needed even when an individual or couple has one or more trusts.

Trustees are able to take control of assets after a grantor dies and transfer them to the appropriate parties. This applies to assets that are in a trust, but estates typically have assets that are not in a trust. While leaving an asset out of a trust is sometimes an error or oversight, the asset still becomes a probate asset.

Probate assets are subject to distribution according to a will. Without a will, state laws concerning an estate will apply instead. To cover any items not in a trust, a pour-over will could be used. A person or couple can list a trust as the beneficiary in a will, which ensures that assets become part of a will. This allows one to control how the assets are distributed.

Wills are often necessary when estate planning to ensure that one's final wishes are met. Without a valid will in place, laws of intestacy apply. Interstate guidelines typically pass assets to a spouse and by lineage. To ensure that a will is valid, one may need to review the document as time passes or when life changes occur. A divorce is one major life change that typically requires edits to a will. Additionally, an individual may want an attorney to review an estate plan.

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