With both a will and a trust, can the will take precedence?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Contested Wills & Trusts

Indiana residents who create an estate plan might want to have both a will and a trust. The will details how a person’s property is distributed and to whom; a trust manages assets while the person is alive and in some cases after they have died. Not all wills and trusts are consistent. Recognizing and addressing potential problems requires a full understanding of these documents.

Recognize how a will supersedes a trust

For people who choose to have both documents, it is imperative to understand when the will takes precedence if there is a conflict. In general, there are two situations where the documents could contradict each other. A will might differ with a trust that was already completed. It can also differ with one that has not been created or funded yet.

When the trust already exists, the will has no authority and cannot be adhered to instead of the trust. For example, if a person places real estate into the trust and then writes a will leaving that real estate to an heir, they cannot do so because it belongs to the trust.

If, however, a trust that has not been created or funded will not supersede a will. Mistakes in these matters can lead to contested wills. That can be costly in myriad ways and prevent a person’s property from being distributed as they wanted.

It is wise to try and avoid missteps with wills and trusts

Knowing how to effectively create an estate plan that stands up to scrutiny can be critical when trying to ensure a the primary objectives are met. Since there are instances where a will and trust do conflict, those considering having both should make sure they are aware of how to avoid a disconnect between the two.