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How a will and trust can interact in estate planning

Many Georgia estate planners note the value that trusts bring to estate administration. A client working closely with an experienced estate planning attorney can realize multiple benefits from trust creation, including these:

  • Planning control over assets throughout a planner's lifetime
  • Certainty regarding desired disposition after death
  • Distinct tax benefits
  • Probate avoidance, which can be time-consuming and costly
  • Privacy that is sacrificed during the probate process

We stress on our website at the North Georgia law firm of Miles Hansford & Tallant that a trust must contain transferable property to be deemed a legal planning instrument. Trust property typically comprises liquid assets like securities or cash. We note that it can also include things "like real estate, stocks, bonds and items of value."

What happens if a planner fails to include some assets that he or she would have wanted to be placed in a trust, and thereafter passes away? Will those assets fail to gain trust protection?

Planners will want to note that an instrument called a pour-over will can help ensure that property failed to be placed in trust (forgotten, perhaps, or accrued following trust creation) can still flow into an established trust vehicle. One detailed article on pour-over wills notes that their purpose is to "pick up any assets or property that are not included in your [a planners'] trust upon death."

Pour-over wills and trusts (most notably revocable living trusts) routinely work together in estate planning. Experienced estate administration attorneys can provide further information.

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