If I create a living trust, do I still need a will?

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The short answer is yes. Even if all of your property is owned by your revocable living trust, there are several reasons why you still need a will. A will "backs up" your living trust in case there is some property that somehow did not make it into the trust.

For example, a backup will helps:

  • dispose of suddenly acquired property (e.g. sudden gift, insurance proceeds, lottery winnings, a lawsuit settlement, etc.)
  • dispose of property that is generally not desirable to transfer to a living trust, such as your personal checking account or car;
  • name a personal guardian who will look after your young children; or
  • name a property manager who will look after your children's property.

If you have are planning on preparing a living will, make sure that you have a backup will for all of the above scenarios and more. Doing so will ensure that all of your property is disposed according to your wishes.