A pour over will is a type of estate planning document that works in concert with a trust. Whether this will is ideal for you simply depends on your particular wishes and assets. Please make sure to consult with a skilled estate planning attorney to ensure your plan is current and is consistent with your desires. The estate planning lawyers at the McWilliams Law Firm are always here to help!
Pour Over Will Basics
A pour over will is a type of will that, upon your death, transfers your assets into a trust. The will essentially “pours” your assets into the trust. While the assets and property passing into the trust must still be probated, the probate process is simpler and less taxing that a full probate.
Once the assets get transferred into the trust, they will be governed by the trust document. Further, it is entirely permissible if you transferred other assets, outside of those in the pour over will, into the trust prior to your passing. The assets from the pour over will simply sit in the trust along with your other assets. Again, all assets will be governed and managed in accordance with the trust document.
Please note that you can also name guardians for any of your minor children in this type of will. This is an important fact to remember. If your estate plan fails to name a guardian, the court will decide who should care for your children. The person appointed may not be the same person that you had wanted to raise your minors.
Specific Benefits of a Pour Over Will
One main advantage to a pour over will relates to the probate process. A pour over will essentially abbreviates or streamlines the process. A normal will usually leaves assets to a range of different people. Here, the court has to ensure that all intended beneficiaries have received notice of the will and the property that they are entitled to. But since a pour over will transfers all of your assets to one source (your trust), a judge just had to make certain that the transfer was completed. This makes the probate process shorter and less taxing on a personal representative.
A second benefit of a pour over will lies in the fact that a trust is not a matter of public record. This means that the use of the will actually works to keep your wishes private. The only information made public is that your assets were transferred to your trust. Nothing is made known regarding:
- Who an asset may benefit,
- How an asset gets managed,
- The value of an asset, or
- The specific nature of an asset.
Lastly, the will acts as a type of safety net. Suppose you forgot to transfer an asset into your trust before you passed. If you had named the asset in your pour over will, then the asset gets transferred anyway. Your wishes come true just as if you transferred the asset personally prior to passing.
Contact The McWilliams Law Group for Help
Our firm provides legal assistance with the following:
- Will drafting, execution and review
- Living Trusts
- Advance healthcare directives (living Wills)
- Powers of attorney
- Estate and gift tax issues
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Choosing the appropriate executor and/or trustee
The skilled attorneys at our firm can help thoroughly analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, establishing guardianship, and supporting philanthropic causes. Contact us now and let us help protect your personal security, family, and legacy.