Posted by: Woodfork Law | February 15, 2013

Why a Will is needed even when you have a Living Trust

You probably are already aware of the many great benefits of a revokable living Trust when it comes to estate planning.  Just to mention a few of the benefits are avoiding a long, expensive, public probate, planning for incapacity, and even in some cases, minimizing estate taxes. With so many great benefits of a Trust, you may think, “do I really need a Will?”

The answer is yes.  Even if you have a multimillion dollar estate with the most complex A/B Bypass Trust, including a Charitable Remainder Trust, Life Insurance Trust, and a gifting strategy, you still need a Will.

The main reason is because as a practical matter you cannot transfer all your belonging into your Trust. Even if you transferred everything you can think of, when you pass, you will still have clothes, jewelery, cash, and other personal items that must be given to your heirs.

Although Arizona allows you to make reference to a personal property memorandum in your Will, you still will not be able to list everything.  The part of a Will that handles all your personal property and tangible things, is the “Residuary Clause.”  Basically, this clause in your Will states that whatever items in your estate that you didn’t include in the Trust, or the personal property memo, (the residue) goes to who you direct.  Therefore, if you do not have a Will, and have not transferred the items into your Trust, it is as if you never planned your estate at all.


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