I am a resident of Gloucester County, New Jersey. If I have recently formed a Revocable Living Trust and moved all my New Jersey assets into the trust, do I still need a will?
If the goal in forming your Revocable Living Trust was to avoid probate, then you must either transfer all your assets that would otherwise be Probate Assets into the trust during your lifetime or have them pour into the Revocable Trust at your death. That is often done by using a Payable on Death Account or naming the Trust as Beneficiary.
If all goes as planned, there is no need to file a Will with the Surrogate’s office as there is no longer a Probate Estate. But, we are all human, and it is possible you will forget to set up an account at your death to pour into the Revocable Trust. This is why all of my clients with Revocable Living Trusts also have what we call a “Pour Over Will”. A Pour Over Will is a Will that simply names an executor and says that any Probate Assets that exist at your death “Pour” into your Revocable Trust.
If everything is set up correctly, this Will is never filed as there are no Probate Assets. The Pour Over Will also serves an important purpose in case you die in an accident. If a lawsuit need be filed, the executor you have named in the Pour Over Will is authorized to file the Will for litigation purposes (less expensive) and pursue the case. If successful, any recovered assets “pour into” the Revocable Living Trust.
If you have questions about avoiding Probate, or about Estate Planning in Gloucester County, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
Wills, Trusts and Estates, It’s all we do!