Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.
Good morning. If you are referring to a living trust
and a will, you do not need both. The living trust is set up during your life to avoid probate
. You transfer your assets that would otherwise go through probate to the trust and at your death, there are no probate assets
and thus no need for a will. It's possible if you don't do a living trust, and you have a will that addresses your probate assets, that you have another kind of a trust set up in your will...a testamentary trust
and/or a marital trust
...which means that instead of your assets going directly to beneficiaries they go to these trusts. These trusts are used for tax purposes and when beneficiaries are minors or possibly ill equipped to handle their financial affairs. Certain assets don't need to be dealt with either through a trust or a will because they aren't probate assets. These include the following: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate
such as life insurance and retirement accounts.
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