You definitely need a Will, at a minimum, if you are over 18 years old. Whether you need a trust is dependent upon the assets that you’ve got, and whether your assets are held in co-ownership. There are alot of things that go into whether you need a Trust. But, you need a Will, at a minimum.
A revocable living trust, sometimes referred to as a “living trust”, is a document set up, normally by an attorney. Persons that set up the trust, transfer their assets into the ownership of this trust, so the trust actually owns those assets. When the person dies, their assets can be transferred easily because they did not personally own those assets. Those assets were owned by the trust, and therefore, there’s no need for a probate.
If the trust is properly set up, and if all your assets are transferred into the trust, then there’s probably no need for a probate after you pass away. A will on the other hand, most of the time, has to go through the probate, which is the court process to validate the will, to be sure your creditors are paid and then distribute the assets according to the terms of the will.
There are a lot more documents that are associated with a trust. The trust takes alot more time for an attorney to prepare. It’s more of a comprehensive approach of taking care of all your matters. Making a will is one document, and it’s very quick and usually not very time consuming.
A living trust is sometimes called a “Revocable Living Trust”, but it’s a document which you would create through an attorney’s office. You transfer your assets into this living trust. And, the effect of having a proper living trust is that your heirs don’t usually have to go through court after you pass away.
A Will is a single document that says who you want to be your executor and how you want your assets divided. The Will must usually go through probate. A trust, on the other hand, is different. If properly set up, then the assets of your estate don’t usually have to go through probate.
A lot of people really don’t need a Trust. I know that’s contrary to some of the material that you may have read. The benefit of a Trust is to avoid probate. Well, oftentimes, there’s going to be no probate if someone has only a Will. It really depends on the assets of the estate. If the assets are all jointly titled with someone that actually survives, then, chances are, there is no probate. But, the problem is if both of those people pass away, say in a car wreck, you need to probate the estate in that situation.
Yes, you should have a will that works with your trust. The objective is to have all of your assets transferred into the trust before you pass away. But, if any of those assets don’t get transferred into the trust, then the will, which is what we call a pour-over will, would collect those assets, and pour those assets over into the trust. The trust specifies who gets what and how your assets are to be divided.