Could a back-up plan help your trust-based estate?

As a well-organized person, you may have been exploring your estate planning options for some time. Because you certainly do not want to leave your family in a difficult position in the event of your passing, you want to make sure that you have made the best planning decisions possible for your estate's specific needs. In the end, you may have settled on creating a trust-based estate plan.

The idea of helping your family avoid probate and allowing your assets to be distributed through terms that you set when creating the trust may have acted as strong factors in your decision to go this route. However, you may still have some concerns. For instance, what will happen if you leave some of your assets out of the trust?

Back-up plans

A very real chance exists that some of your property may not make it into your trust, even though you have every intention of including it. You could easily overlook certain items, forget to update your trust after obtaining new assets or even die before you get the chance to update it. Luckily, you can take steps to account for these left-out items so that the stipulations of your trust still apply to them.

Pour-over will

One of the easiest ways to make sure all of your assets are distributed as your trust dictates involves creating a pour-over will. This type of will essentially allows you to name your trust as the beneficiary of any remaining assets. Therefore, rather than items going to specific people, they should pass into the trust and then be distributed by the terms of that trust.

Though a pour-over will differs from a standard will, it still requires probate proceedings. This fact means that any assets left out of the trust but addressed in a pour-over will should go through the legal process, but once that process ends, the property will move into the trust. So while this type of document cannot protect your surviving family from probate, it can ensure that your property is distributed as you wanted.

Lack of contingencies

If you do not create a pour-over will as a back-up plan or do not take other steps to address any assets that may not go into your trust, New York intestate laws will apply. As a result, your remaining property will pass to the parties the court sees fit. If you hope to avoid this outcome, you could find information on pour-over wills and other planning safeguards beneficial.

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