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Wills and trusts are vital, and they work best when used together

| Feb 10, 2020 | estate administration & probate |

A trust is a wonderful way to handle your assets when you’re no longer around to do it yourself. But they’re only one piece of a larger puzzle, and you’d benefit from confiding in an old estate planning standard.

Only 44% of Americans have a will that will handle their estate. Having a trust in place can be a solid start to handle your affairs when the time comes, but there is a wealth of topics beyond a trust that your plan will need to address.

Assets that fall under your trust could see plenty of benefits. Properly articulated property can dodge the probate process, avoid taxes and streamline the process of handing your assets over, things that a will likely won’t be able to do on its own. But that doesn’t mean you can skip a will since it has some additional benefits to offer.

Pour-over property

The trust will manage whatever property you’ve officially put in there. If there are assets that you haven’t assigned to the trust, then it can’t dictate where they go. This is why a healthy estate plan will have a will, which can designate landing spots for assets that fall outside the trust.

Diversified instructions

Not everything you care for in life fits in a trust. You can take care of matters that may require care that can’t be explicitly spelled out in a trust, like naming a guardian for family members in need or relieving debts that someone hasn’t paid off by the time you pass.

Directing your assets after you go isn’t always an easy process. You’ll likely get the best results by making a comprehensive plan rather than putting all your eggs in one basket. A trust is a strong component of the planning process, but a will can certainly do a lot to round your strategy out.