A trust is used to keep assets out of probate once a person dies. This legal document places one’s assets in the control of a specific individual or entity usually chosen by the decedent. Many people in Florida and other states believe that since a trust is supposed to avoid probate, they therefore do not need wills. However, will planning is still an important part of an estate plan, according to most legal professionals and experts.
Wills that accompany trusts are referred to as pour over wills. These wills are designed to direct the decedent’s assets into the trusts. Pour over wills act as a second layer of assurance that a person’s assets will be properly funded into the trust. Any assets which have not been funded into a trust is then out of reach of the trust’s control, which could result in a probate proceeding to determine what to do with that the asset or any other estate item not funded into the trust.
This could become a problem because these probate assets would then have to be distributed under applicable laws. Although the assets may still end up being transferred to intended heirs, without a will one risks the chances of the assets not reaching the intended destination. Probate court can be unpredictable at times and it is best not to take the risk, according to most legal experts.
Therefore, if one has a trust but has not done any will planning, it may be a good time to think about creating a will. This will provide further assurance that assets will not be subject to the legal code in Florida. However, it is important to be careful when crafting the language in the will. Even a small mistake in the legal wording can create significant consequences.