Question: Which supersedes, a will or a trust?

Answer: Neither, a will and a trust govern different property.

Daniel Print z logoIf a person has a living trust, they should have a will as well. The trust document covers only things that are put into the trust. The will covers anything that is not in trust, and not in a designated-beneficiary account like life insurance or retirement accounts. Normally a will created alongside a trust is a “pour-over” will, and it leaves everything to the trust.

For example, let’s say I own a house in my own name and I have a will leaving everything to my son. The house is controlled by my will. Then I make a trust leaving everything I own to the Humane Society. The house is still controlled by my will because it’s not in the trust. Then I create a Deed transferring the house from myself, Daniel Printz, to myself as trustee: “Daniel Printz, as Trustee of the Daniel Printz Trust.” NOW the house is controlled by the trust and will go to the Humane Society.

Feel free to contact me directly at (858) 740-4370 if you have questions about these documents and how they interact.