Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L.
Call Today. 305-508-5749 | 877-421-5473

If you have a trust, do you still need a will?

Recent media coverage has focused on the details of Joan Rivers’ will. Since a will most go through probate and the details of a probate proceeding are generally open to the public, juicy tidbits about the estate, such as its estimated value of $150 million, have been widely circulated. 

As an attorney that focuses on estate planning knows, much of that attention could have been avoided with the selection of trusts. Unlike wills, trusts generally bypass the probate process. That, in turn, shields the details of an estate from the public eye.

To be fair, Rivers’ estate also included a living trust. Both the will and the trust documents were signed in November 2011. Readers may question why Rivers had both of these estate-planning instruments. One reason could be property that was overlooked and/or acquired subsequent to the creation of the trust. A trust includes only property that was specifically transferred to it in writing. To the extent there is leftover or unaccounted property, it must go through probate. 

However, not all wills are the same. For example, a pour-over will can specify that any left over property be poured into the trust. If an individual took care to title most of his or her major assets in the name of the trust, only a few smaller assets may be left over at the time of passing. In such event, the estate may qualify for an expedited probate procedure for smaller estates, a type of summary probate.  In Florida, the two types of probate are called formal and summary administration. Summary administration may be available to estates valued under $75,000. 

Source: USA Today, “Joan Rivers' will mentions dogs, charities,” Ann Oldenburg, Dec. 10, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • It is difficult enough to cope with the emotional challenges of closing a parent's estate, and when you are also faced with the issue of your parents having insufficient documentation, and being remote from your siblings… - Zara L.
  • Austin Frye provided legal services to my father while alive and to his estate after his death; when showing the EP docs his firm prepared to other professionals (lawyers, financial advisors, accountants)… - Mark S
  • I've been a client of Austin Frye's for over 10 years. In that time, he's handled my estate/trust planning and asset protection as well as complicated business deals. - Leslie
  • Mr. Frye recently set up a complicated special needs trust for my son and, as usual, did a great job explaining it and in putting our minds at ease about our son's future well-being. - Dr. Howard
Read More...
  • NYSBA
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar 1950
  • CFP
  • Florida Bar Elder Law Member
  • Academy Of Florida Elder Law Attorneys
  • Florida bar Business law Member
  • NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Email Us For a Response

Contact Us For Personal Attention To Your Legal Matter

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Office Location

Get In Touch With Us
20900 W. Dixie Highway
Aventura, FL 33180

Toll Free: 877-421-5473
Phone: 305-508-5749
Map & Directions