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Friday, January 28, 2022

Have You Ever Heard of a Pour Over Will?

While most people have heard of a last will and testament, much fewer may be familiar with a pour over will. Despite it being a lesser known estate planning tool, a pour over will can be an important addition to an estate plan. This is especially true for those estate plans that also include a revocable living trust.

Have You Ever Heard of a Pour Over Will?

Trusts can be a great way to avoid probate. The probate process is the court monitored process of administering a person’s estate after he or she has passed away. It can be expensive. It can be time consuming. It also makes a public record of the contents of a person’s estate and how they saw fit to distribute it. The lack of privacy in and of itself pushes many to explore ways to avoid probate. One of the most popular ways to do this is through a trust.

Many chose a revocable living trust as a vehicle for avoiding probate. After all, a revocable living trust gives a person much more flexibility and control over the trust and its contents than other trust types offer. Let’s say that you transfer the bulk of your estate into a revocable living trust in order to avoid probate. After this is done, you go on to acquire other assets, but do not get around to transferring them into your trust. After you die, the assets you failed to transfer into your revocable trust will likely have to go through probate. This is, unless, you established a pour over will.

A pour over will transfers all of the deceased individual’s assets at time of death into a revocable living trust. This is why it is called a pour over will. The remaining property in the probate estate is poured over into the trust. Essentially, the pour over will acts as a catchall for property that may have been left out unintentionally from the trust. Property that is transferred into the pour over will does need to be probated, but the process is much less involved than the full probate process would be. This is because the court would not need to ensure that all beneficiaries have received notice and distributions. Instead, the probate court would only need to ensure that the remaining assets of the estate had been poured over into the revocable living trust.

Having a pour over will work in tandem with a revocable living trust helps keep an estate plan simple and effective. Assets poured over into the trust will be governed by the terms set forth in the trust document which means that, essentially, the trust document is the single document governing all assets of the grantor. In addition to be an effective tool to help manage assets of the estate, a pour over will can also allow the testator to name guardians for minor children who may survive them. Through a provision for guardianship, a testator is empowered to select trusted individuals to take over the care of their minor children should the need arise.

Estate Planning Attorney

To learn more about pour over wills and other valuable estate planning tools, the team at Monk Law is here for you and your loved ones. Contact Monk Law today.


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