If you are creating an estate plan, you may have decided to use a trust as your primary tool for distributing assets to your Michigan beneficiaries. Many people prefer a living trust because it allows them to make changes to it, unlike an irrevocable trust. However, there are good reasons to also use a pour-over will in conjunction with the trust.
Advantages of a trust
A living trust offers several advantages over a will as an estate planning tool. Because it is not a matter of public record like a will, it can provide privacy regarding what you choose to do with your estate. Since a trust does not have to go through probate, assets can be distributed directly to beneficiaries.
Advantages of a pour-over will
Some of the disadvantages associated with a trust can be addressed by using a pour-over will. A will is an easy way to name a guardian for any minor children, which you cannot do with a trust. A pour-over will can also allow any remaining assets to move into your living trust at the time of your death. This can be helpful because it is easy to lose track of every single asset, such as old life insurance or pension accounts.
If you do decide to use a living trust and a pour-over will, you should be aware that the assets that are transferred into your living trust via your will may have to pass through the probate process first, creating a delay. However, this is still a better outcome than a family conflict over an asset that you forgot to include in your trust.
To reduce the likelihood of family conflict even further, talk to them about your living trust and pour-over will. This can help ensure that they know what to expect and understand your reasoning.