Do I need a will if I have a trust?

Stephen Howard — Stone River Law

Real People. Real Solutions.

Do I need a will if I have a trust?

A last will and testament combined with a living trust are two estate planning tools that form a foundation in many individual and family estate plans. Under Utah law, a living trust does not replace a will or make the will unnecessary. Instead, the two work together.

A living trust can be used to manage property and assets during the grantor’s lifetime, and also to direct the management and distribution of trust property following the grantor’s death. The living trust provides flexibility in distribution plans without the probate requirements that are triggered by a testamentary trust.

The last will and testament can be used to perform functions that cannot be done through a living trust. These functions include nominating a guardian for a minor child, naming a personal representative (aka executor), and expressing burial preferences.

Other estate planning tools commonly used in Utah include a durable power of attorney and an advance health care directive, which combines the functions of a medical power of attorney and living will.

The advice and assistance of an estate planning attorney is worth the time and cost, to help make sure that the tools you use in your estate plan are tailored to meed your needs and goals.