A Pour Over Will is a specific type of will that when used in conjunction with a living trust provides for the transfer of assets to the living trust. A Pour Over Will is drafted especially for the benefit of helping an estate avoid probate.
Everyone understands that sooner or later we will all pass on. People prepare for that day by writing wills. However, in order to avoid the probate process, people create living trusts.
Avoid Probate with a Living Trust
A grantor, during his or her lifetime, not only drafts the living trust, but is also the trustee of the living trust. When the grantor dies, all the assets that are held in the trust – assets that require the grantor’s signature to transfer – are transferred to a named trustee.
What a Pour Over Will effectively does is account for all the grantor’s assets that have not transferred to the trust or were unintentionally left out of the trust before his or her death and then assigns them to the trust.
The assets are now owned by the trust, but more particularly, they will now be owned by the trustee. All living trusts essentially declare the following:
When I die, immediately without court order because we don’t have to go to probate court, my successor trustee shall step in and start handling the assets of the living trust.
In certain jurisdictions, a Pour-Over Will helps you avoid probate because all probate assets that were left over are moved into the living trust. The trust then pays all bills and distributes personal effects.
A Pour Over Will Transfers or Pours Leftover Assets into Your Trust
If there is a piece of property on the probate side that the decedent didn’t get into his or her name as trustee, when he or she dies, it goes by intestate succession. We make this person testate by drafting and creating a Pour Over Will.
A Pour-Over Will is basically a more specific type of will. What makes it beneficial is that the Pour Over Will has one objective and one objective only:
When you pass away, any leftover assets are to be distributed to your revocable living trust.
In particular, your property is to be distributed to your successor trustee as trustee. You then have one plan of distribution of your assets.
The goal of a properly executed estate plan is to never have to use a will. A will controls probate assets and the goal is to die with no probate assets – only trust assets. However, a Pour Over Will should be used jointly with a living trust in case assets are accidentally left out of the trust.
Advantages of a Pour Over Will
Pour Over Wills offer distinct advantages when used along with a revocable living trust and are an integral part of a well-rounded estate plan. Two huge advantages include increased privacy for the beneficiaries of the trust and the benefit of not having assets mistakenly left out of the trust.
Think of a Pour Over Will as a security net that catches any assets inadvertently left out of your revocable living trust, assets that would otherwise be subjected to probate, and then places these assets into your living trust.