If you have a living trust in place as part of your estate plan or are thinking about establishing a living trust, you may also wish to create a pour-over will. Pour-over wills are useful if you don’t want to place all of your assets into a living trust at one time. A pour-over will effectively “pours over” any remaining assets not in the trust at the time of your death into the trust. These assets can then be distributed to your beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes.
The advantages of a pour-over will
A pour-over will has several benefits, including:
- Providing easier management of your estate: A pour-over will acts as a single document that controls a large portion of your estate. You don’t have to waste time tracking down assorted documents anytime you want to review your estate plan. A pour-over will also has advantages when it comes time to administer your estate, simplifying the process for your executor, who has to manage and distribute your assets.
- Accounting for overlooked assets: When you have significant assets, it can be easy to overlook some of them when creating your estate plan. Because any assets not placed in the trust during your lifetime will go into the trust after you’re gone, a pour-over will is an effective tool for capturing these assets.
- It can help keep certain details of your estate private: Trusts are not public information. You can help shield certain details of your estate from the public record.
Pour-over wills are not right for everyone. If your goal is to avoid the probate process entirely, you’ll want to steer clear of a pour-over will. Assets that go into the trust through a pour-over will have to pass through probate. A skilled legal professional can help explain the advantages and disadvantages of various estate planning tools and how to apply them to help you achieve your goals.