How do pour-over wills work?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2023 | Estate Planning

If you are planning on using trusts as part of your estate plan, you should also consider a pour-over will. These can help you ensure that you account for all of the assets you own when you die. It is essential if you base your estate plan on a trust rather than a traditional will.

Here is how it works:

A trust can only cover the assets that you put into that trust. Anything not included (or not accounted for by other means) will be left for a court to distribute according to state intestate laws.

As you will probably acquire more assets as you proceed through life, keeping your trust up to date can be difficult. Many people intend to review their estate plan but never get around to it. Then, one day they die unexpectedly, often leaving significant assets outside the trust.

A pour-over will sweep everything up when you die

This type of will instructs your personal representative, upon your death, to place anything you did not account for elsewhere into a revocable living trust that you have already created.  When you create the trust, you give the personal representative instructions on what to do with the assets in it (including those that pour over into it when you die).

Doing this does not preclude you from setting up other types of trust with specific purposes. Rather, it gives you peace of mind that everything will be accounted for when you die and distributed as you would wish.

Consider legal help to learn more about the various estate planning options and select and set up the ones that are right for you and your family.