We get this question all of the time in our estate planning office. It is an important question. In a word, Yes. You do need a Will. Frequently, both clients doing Trust planning and clients with little or no assets ask this question.
First, clients with Trust planning still need a Will. The Will (in this case, a Pour-Over Will) picks up any assets intentionally or inadvertently left out of the Trust. It pours these assets into the Trust through the probate process. Additionally, the Will names the Executor who will take care of any estate settlement business and a Guardian to care for minor children.
Second, for clients with little or no assets, the Will names the Executor. As with a Pour-Over Will, the Executor takes care of any unfinished business and estate settlement. For instance, notifying Social Security of the death; filing last tax returns; canceling cable, magazine, and newspaper subscriptions, distributing any remaining assets including personal effects; planning and paying for a funeral or memorial service; and ending a lease.
Whether you have a comprehensive Trust plan or a simple Will, you should also have these legal documents so you can be sure what you want to happen does indeed happen both when and how you direct: Durable General Power of Attorney (for finances), Temporary Health Care Power of Attorney. Also, discuss the Living Will and Organ Donation with your estate planning attorney.
If you are unsure whether you need a Will or any other estate planning documents, please feel free to call our office. We’d be happy to talk it through with you. 858-792-5988.