A trust is an important estate plan document. Other estate planning documents include a last will and testament and intestate succession.
Every state has laws that determine who your heirs are and what proportion of the estate the heir is entitled to receive. Heir refers to blood relatives and are usually grouped according to closeness of relationship: Children and spouse; siblings and parents; aunts, uncles, and cousins. Where there is no will or trust, the estate is deemed “intestate” and must be settled according to state probate law. Individuals who inherit property under a will or trust are referred to as beneficiaries. Persons can be named as beneficiaries on bank accounts, life insurance policies, financial portfolios, retirement accounts, and certain types of titled property such as real estate – they need not be heirs. Remember heirs can be beneficiaries, but beneficiaries are not always heirs.
To complete an estate plan, you should consider adding trust documents.