How a Pour-over Will Helps Achieve Your Trust Objectives

Individuals may choose to create a trust, in addition to a will, when they desire a high degree of control over the distribution of their estate. The most common type of trust is the revocable living trust, which allows individuals to place their assets into a trust but still use them while they are alive. Upon death, the assets pass to the beneficiaries designated in the trust.

A pour-over will works in combination with a trust to achieve the creator’s objectives by transferring assets from into the trust when the creator dies. Unlike a traditional will, which specifies the beneficiaries for all individual assets, a pour-over will states that any assets not already incorporated into the trust go there upon the creator’s death.

There are distinct advantages to utilizing a pour-over will. First, it avoids the hassle of specifying the beneficiaries for each asset and updating the beneficiaries as new assets are added to the estate.

Second, it accounts for assets that may get left out of trusts for various reasons. Sometimes, the omission is intentional, such as when the trust creator has short-term plans for an asset best served outside the trust, with the intention to transfer the asset into the trust later. One might unintentionally leave an asset outside an established trust because it is not yet known, as might be the case with an inheritance from a friend or distant relative. Additionally, assets sometimes are left out simply because the trust creator dies before transferring them.

No matter how organized a person may be, the likelihood that he or she will manage to transfer all of their estate assets into a trust before their death without leaving a single asset outstanding is low. As such, a pour-over will is an excellent way to make sure all property is accounted for.

While some individuals opt to create a revocable living trust to avoid probate, a pour-over will, unlike a trust, must be probated. In addition, any estate assets that remain outside the trust are subject to probate. The court-appointed executor of the estate must transfer any assets that are part of the estate to the individuals specified in the will. In the case of a pour-over will, the executor’s job is more straightforward, as all they must do is pass the assets from the will into the established trust.

The Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. provides estate planning services, including wills and trusts, in Rochester and the surrounding areas. Mention our website when you call us at 585-563-1134, or contact us online and receive a free 30-minute initial consultation. We offer convenient business hours and offer evening and Saturday meetings by appointment.


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