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LEGAL DICTIONARY

Pour-Over Will

What Is a Pour-Over Will?

A pour-over will is a last will and testament that works in tandem with a living trust. A living trust is a document that allows you to specify how your assets will be distributed after you die. With this type of trust, you can use and control these assets during your lifetime.

However, trusts require maintenance, and some people neglect to transfer important assets into their living trust before they pass away. Here is where a pour-over will is beneficial. It works as a safety net, capturing any assets that you did not transfer to your trust before your death.

What Are the Advantages of a Pour-Over Will?

Without a pour-over will, assets not already in your trust are treated as if you died without a will. That means these assets will be distributed according to local laws, meaning they may not go to the beneficiaries you intended or at least not within the timeframe you anticipated.

Here are the other advantages of having a pour-over will as part of your estate planning.

  • Peace of mind. It can be challenging –if not impossible– to transfer everything into your living trust before you pass away. A pour-over “captures” any assets that you either forget about or are not able to transfer to the trust while you are living.
  • Clarity. With a pour-over will, your assets are controlled by one document – the trust – that clearly states who inherits what. This clarity simplifies your executor’s role. The executor of a will is the individual you name to administer your trust after your death.
  • Agility. This streamlines the work of your trustee, who is responsible for administering your trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries. (Your executor and your trustee may be the same person.)
  • Privacy. Wills become part of the public record, but trusts do not. Therefore, having a pour-over will and a living trust allows you to keep the details of the transfer of a property a private matter between you and your beneficiaries.

Are There Disadvantages of a Pour-Over Will?

Like with other types of wills, a pour-over will can be delayed by probate. Probate is a legal procedure that involves authenticating a will, paying off debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. This process can be time-consuming and expensive.

On the other hand, any property already in your living trust can be distributed quickly, often within a few weeks after you pass away. For this reason, it is vital to keep up to date with your estate plan, transferring valuable assets into the trust as soon as possible.

What Does a Pour-Over Will Cover?

A pour-over will names your trust as the beneficiary of any property it does not already hold. Essentially, any property that passes through this type of will shall be “poured” into your trust and then distributed to your heirs.

You can change a revocable living trust at any point during your lifetime. Estate planners recommend that you review your trust documents at least once a year –making sure to fund any new property you acquire into the trust.

Helpful Resources:

Investopedia - Pour-Over Will Definition

AllLaw - How a "Pour-Over" Will Works

The Balance - Using a Pour-Over Will in Estate Planning

What Is a Pour-Over Will?

A pour-over will is a last will and testament that works in tandem with a living trust. A living trust is a document that allows you to specify how your assets will be distributed after you die. With this type of trust, you can use and control these assets during your lifetime.

However, trusts require maintenance, and some people neglect to transfer important assets into their living trust before they pass away. Here is where a pour-over will is beneficial. It works as a safety net, capturing any assets that you did not transfer to your trust before your death.

What Are the Advantages of a Pour-Over Will?

Without a pour-over will, assets not already in your trust are treated as if you died without a will. That means these assets will be distributed according to local laws, meaning they may not go to the beneficiaries you intended or at least not within the timeframe you anticipated.

Here are the other advantages of having a pour-over will as part of your estate planning.

  • Peace of mind. It can be challenging –if not impossible– to transfer everything into your living trust before you pass away. A pour-over “captures” any assets that you either forget about or are not able to transfer to the trust while you are living.
  • Clarity. With a pour-over will, your assets are controlled by one document – the trust – that clearly states who inherits what. This clarity simplifies your executor’s role. The executor of a will is the individual you name to administer your trust after your death.
  • Agility. This streamlines the work of your trustee, who is responsible for administering your trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries. (Your executor and your trustee may be the same person.)
  • Privacy. Wills become part of the public record, but trusts do not. Therefore, having a pour-over will and a living trust allows you to keep the details of the transfer of a property a private matter between you and your beneficiaries.

Are There Disadvantages of a Pour-Over Will?

Like with other types of wills, a pour-over will can be delayed by probate. Probate is a legal procedure that involves authenticating a will, paying off debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. This process can be time-consuming and expensive.

On the other hand, any property already in your living trust can be distributed quickly, often within a few weeks after you pass away. For this reason, it is vital to keep up to date with your estate plan, transferring valuable assets into the trust as soon as possible.

What Does a Pour-Over Will Cover?

A pour-over will names your trust as the beneficiary of any property it does not already hold. Essentially, any property that passes through this type of will shall be “poured” into your trust and then distributed to your heirs.

You can change a revocable living trust at any point during your lifetime. Estate planners recommend that you review your trust documents at least once a year –making sure to fund any new property you acquire into the trust.

Helpful Resources:

Investopedia - Pour-Over Will Definition

AllLaw - How a "Pour-Over" Will Works

The Balance - Using a Pour-Over Will in Estate Planning