Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

If a will was signed in 2000 and one year later a trust was set up, what do I go buy the trust or the will? I'm a trustee for a friend who past away. Her son and grandchildren are the beneficiary. The will states that the son receives everything but the trust says everything is to be divided among the son and grandchildren. Thank you

Asked on 5/27/13, 10:42 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

The will and the trust are reviewed together. Its not really a case of one or the other. The will only controls probate assets owned solely by the deceased at the time of death. The trust controls distribution of any property owned by the trust. So if the deceased made a will in 2000 then did a revocable living trust and conveyed all his/her assets to the trust, then there is nothing to probate and the trust terms will control. Conversely, same basic facts except the deceased did not convey any assets to the trust. In such case, the will would control as there are no assets in the trust.

A new will called a pourover will should have been done at the time the trust was created if this was done through an attorney and not a do-it-yourself document.

What I would do is contact a probate attorney. Make a list of all assets solely in the decedent's name at the time of her death and a list of all assets owned by the trust. Since you are trustee, you should have a copy of the will and trust. Take the property lists and the will and trust to an attorney and pay him/her to review. However, the trust will control those assets in the name of the trust and the will is going to control those assets that were in the decedent's name and which were not conveyed to the trust.

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Answered on 5/27/13, 7:56 pm

Hillary Snyder Hillary N. Snyder, Esquire

I agree with the answer of Rachel Hunter, and if you are looking for an attorney in your area, I would be more than happy to review the documents for free, as part of my free initial consultation.

Although my primary office is in Gibsonia, I do have meeting spaces available throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Please feel free to contact me at [email protected], or call me at 412.327.7335.


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Answered on 5/29/13, 8:41 am

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