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What happens if you forget to add assets to your trust?

Because of the variety of estate planning options available to you, you may want to take your time when it comes to deciding which tools to utilize. Your estate plan will play an important role in the closing of your estate after your passing, and you will undoubtedly want to ensure that you complete your plan in the manner you desire. Of course, certain issues could arise with your plan, and due to this potential, you may want to consider how to best safeguard your plan.

If you choose to utilize a trust-based estate plan, you can place your assets into the trust in order to ensure that the property is distributed according to the terms you set forth. Depending on when you create the trust, you may obtain additional property that also needs placing into the trust. However, what happens if you forget to add those assets?

Assets outside of the trust

If you have property that was not placed into the trust, that property will be addressed during probate proceedings. If you did not specifically detail how the court or estate executor should address those assets, they will likely go through distribution proceedings in accordance with Illinois state law. This means that individuals you may not have intended could receive your remaining property.

Utilizing a pour-over will

Rather than risk having left-out assets go through intestate distribution, you may wish to consider creating a pour-over will. This type of document allows you to generally address any property that you may have forgotten to add to your trust or that otherwise may not have been added before your passing. Essentially, a pour-over will dictates that your trust should act as beneficiary to any remaining assets.

Though a trust can help keep your property from going through probate, assets addressed in a pour-over will need to go through this legal proceeding. After the process ends, the property will go to your trust and then the terms of the trust will dictate the distribution of those assets.

Having a safety net

Though you may meticulously create your estate plan and remain vigilant when it comes to updating your plan, you may still wish to consider creating a pour-over will simply as a safety net. This document could help ensure that your property distribution takes place in accordance with your wishes, even if all of your assets did not make it into your trust.

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law