Estate Planning Law

Is A Revocable Living Trust An Adequate Substitute For A Will?

No! Even though a revocable living trust may be considered the principal document in an estate plan, a will should accompany a revocable living trust. This type of will, referred to as a pour over will, names the revocable living trust as the principal beneficiary. Thus, any property which the grantor failed to transfer to the trust during his or her lifetime is added to the trust upon the grantor`s death and distributed to (or held for the benefit of) the beneficiary in accordance with the terms of the revocable living trust. There cannot be an absolute assurance that all property will be transferred to a revocable living trust during the grantor`s lifetime. For instance, the probate estate of a person who dies as a result of an auto accident may be entitled to any insurance settlement proceeds. These settlement proceeds can only be transferred from the estate to the trust pursuant to the terms of a will. Without a will, the proceeds would be distributed to the heirs under the Missouri laws of descent and distribution. Also, a parent cannot appoint a guardian for minor children in a revocable living trust. This can be accomplished only in the will.