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If you have a trust, do you still need a will?

by | Dec 26, 2018 | Firm News, Wills

When you set up a revocable trust in Oklahoma, you arrange for a trustee to hold some assets aside for distribution to one or more parties after your death according to the terms you stipulate. A revocable trust is also sometimes called a “living trust” because as long as you are still alive, you have the option of making changes to it as circumstances warrant. 

If you already have a trust in place, you may wonder if you also need to make out a will. According to Bankrate, the answer is yes; although a trust functions similarly to a will in some ways, particularly as it relates to the distribution of assets after your death, there are some things a will can do that a trust cannot. 

The probate process for a will allows you to set a limit on the amount of time that creditors have to file a claim against the estate. If creditors do not file within that timeframe, they are out of luck, and the statute of limitations will apply to all assets, including those held in trust, even though the trust itself does not go through the probate process. Without a will to set that limit, your inheritors may have creditors knocking at their doors for up to two years following your death. 

If you have minor children for whose care you must provide in the event of your death, you absolutely need a will. A trust only pertains to assets; guardianship of minors is beyond the scope of what a trust can accomplish. Remember that you can make changes to both wills and revocable trusts as circumstances warrant. In other words, when your children grow up and no longer need a guardian appointed for them, you can revise the will to remove that provision.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.