Hello everyone my name is Robert Mansour, I'm a lawyer in the Los Angeles County area and one of my areas of practice is estate planning. One of the biggest mistakes that I see, is that people generally think their will or their living trust governs everything in their life. They think that it governs their IRA, they think that it governs their life insurance policy, their bank accounts, their real estate, all of their personal belongings. They think that because they have these documents, a will or a living trust, that what they say in those documents, governs everything.
Here's the thing, a living trust only governs what is in the name of that living trust. If an asset is not in the name of the trust it might not be governed by it. An IRA for example is governed by a beneficiary form. Whoever you say the beneficiary is, gets that IRA. A life insurance policy, again governed by a beneficiary form. What you say in a will or a living trust is meaningless, it doesn't govern that particular type of asset.
If you own something jointly with somebody and you pass away and your will says everything goes to my family, it doesn't matter, this person gets everything because you owned something jointly. You and a friend own something jointly, and you die, your friend gets that asset, it doesn't matter what your will says or what your living trust says.
Please understand that what you say in your trust or a will does not necessarily govern all of your assets. If you want to discuss this further, please feel free to contact my office or visit my website at MansourLaw.com for lots more educational information about estate planning. Thank you very much.