Taking advantage of estate planning tools is wise. It is also wise to remember that many of these tools work best together. As a result, you may want to remember that even though you have used one tool, you may still need other tools to help your plan work as best as possible.
In particular, you and other South Dakota residents may think that you do not need a will if you have chosen to use a trust. However, that line of thinking could leave your estate and your surviving loved ones in a bit of a bind after your passing. It is usually a smart move to have both a trust and a will.
A pour-over will
Even if you do not feel that you have any specific information you need to include in a will, it is important to have one to back up your trust. One reason for this is that you may not include every asset you own in the trust before your passing. This could happen simply because you forget to transfer ownership of the assets, or you could pass unexpectedly before having the chance to include certain assets in the trust.
With a pour-over will, you can indicate that any assets not included in the trust at the time of your passing will transfer to the trust. Essentially, the trust will act as the beneficiary of your remaining assets. You may also want to note that any assets that need transferring to your trust after your passing will need to go through the probate process.
You could think that you will remember to fund your trust or that you do not plan to accumulate any more important assets that will need to go into the trust. However, you cannot predict the future. As a result, if you do have assets remaining outside the trust and do not create a pour-over will, the court will distribute those assets in accordance with intestate laws, which means that someone undesirable could end up with your assets.
Having this added protection could bring you even more peace of mind. It often smarter to take precautions than to leave important matters up to chance, and if you have already created a trust to control your asset distribution, you understand this importance. If you have questions about how a pour-over will could help strengthen your estate plan, you may wish to discuss this planning tool with an attorney.