How a Pour Over Will Can Save the Day
A pour over will is a “mini-will” that can help you save valuable time and money after you have passed away. The pour over will works hand-in-hand with your revocable trust.
Generally speaking, you want to set up a revocable trust instead of a will to pass your assets to your beneficiaries. When you create your revocable trust, you transfer title of your assets to the trustee of your trust. This causes your assets to become part of the trust, subject to disbursement according to the directions you have set up in your trust instructions.
The main purpose of the revocable trust is to keep your loved ones out of probate court when it comes time to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries.
The pour over will does not replace your revocable trust, but acts as a fail-safe: in the event you pass away before transferring all of your property into your trust, the pour over will “pours” any property not titled in the name of your trustee back into the trust.
The pour over will does not address the bulk of your estate, but only that last minute property you obtained title to that did not make it into your trust estate before you passed away. So the pour over will normally has a relatively quick, unsupervised probate administration with minimal probate court involvement.
An Example of How the Pour Over Will Works
For example, if someone sold you a home and you took title to the property on Wednesday as “Jane Smith,” that home is not yet part of your trust. For your trust to be funded with this home, you needed to take title as “Jane Smith, trustee of the Jane Smith Family Trust” (or similar language).
If you passed away on Thursday, the very next day before you had the chance to transfer the home into your trust, the pour over will takes the property still titled in your name at the time of your death, and “pours it” back into your trust.
So the pour over will puts the property you took title to as “Jane Smith” and gives it to “Jane Smith, trustee of the Jane Smith Family Trust” to be managed or distributed along with the other trust assets.
What Happens if I Don’t Create a Pour Over Will?
Property not referenced in your will or your trust is considered your “intestate estate,” and this property will be disbursed to your heirs according the laws of intestate succession.
Intestate succession is the state’s best guess at how your property should be handled after you pass away. Intestate administration is subject to excessive court oversight, exposes your estate to unnecessary fees and taxes, and is not likely to reflect your true wishes for distributing your property.
The whole purpose of estate planning is to avoid intestate succession, which can cause loss of time, money, and can be very frustrating for your beneficiaries to experience.
Get Help Creating Your Estate Plan
At Denni Law, Inc., we help you plan for the future to maximize efficiency of time and cost. We help you create a legal plan to honor your true wishes and save you from leaving important decisions about your estate to be decided by a random judge in a public hearing.
To get started with your estate plan in small, simple steps, just click below to reach attorney Paul Denni.