It is a common misconception that you only need a will or a trust for estate planning purposes. Only by working with an estate planning attorney can you understand how both of these tools can help you accomplish estate planning goals and when it is most appropriate to have each.
If you already have a trust, it’s a common myth that you don’t also need a will. In a perfect world having your trust may be sufficient if you don’t have any minor children, but without a will you have no ability to name a guardian for your minor children. Furthermore, a trust is only effective when it is created and funded properly.
Simply establishing the trust itself does not fund it. You must transfer assets from your individual ownership name into the ownership of the trust so that it can be accurately said that the trust controls those assets’ dispositions. Sometimes the timing may lapse or you forget to transfer assets, which means that your trust is not accomplishing individual goals.
This means that if you fail to retitle the property into the trust, the trust cannot dictate the distribution of that asset. This means your asset may instead go through probate, and if you don’t have a will, the state determines what happens to that asset based on intestate succession rules.
This may not be in line with what you intended for your own estate planning purposes. It’s far better to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss many of your concerns around the estate planning process and to decide on your next steps.