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What to know about funding a trust

In many cases, a Massachusetts resident who has a trust won't necessarily need a will. This is because the trust has many of the same testamentary capabilities as a will. However, the estate owner should remember that a trust needs to be properly funded before they pass on. Otherwise, a bank account, home or other asset must go through the probate process. During the probate process, a judge determines who an item should go to.

If a person lacks a valid will, there is a chance that state law will dictate who receives property held in their estate. Individuals can create what is known as a pour-over will. The will states that any assets that are left in an estate at the time of a person's death should be placed into a trust. It's worth noting that a pour-over will is the same as any other will, which means that it may need to go through probate.

It is generally a good idea to have an estate plan reviewed regularly to ensure that it meets an individual's needs. An attorney or a financial adviser could look over a will or trust to see if any changes need to be made.

Wills and trusts may work together as part of a comprehensive estate plan. For example, a pour-over will could ensure that assets make it to a trust if they are not properly titled during the creator's lifetime. An estate planning attorney may talk more about the benefits of such a will or how to create one. If a trust is structured properly, there may be no need for a will as it allows an individual to appoint a guardian or determine where assets go.

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