If you are writing your will or determining the best way to allocate your estate after you die, you might want to consider adding in a pour-over will to the procedures you already put into place. This will ensure that every part of your estate or property is given to the people you want to have it. A pour-over will simply state that all parts of your estate will be included in your will, even if you didn’t explicitly state them in the original will.

This will ensure that even if you forget to include something in your last will and testament form or living trust, it will be included in the pour-over will. You won’t have to worry about any of the assets of your estate being lost or not dealt with properly.

When Do You Need a Pour-over Will?

You should use a pour-over will if you have a large estate or plan to acquire more assets now that your will is already completed and signed. If you plan to inherit property from relatives or someone else, the pour-over will also ensure that those things are included in the agreement.

You might also need a pour-over will if you are worried you didn’t properly fund your trust. It works in conjunction with your living trust, so you will need both.

What Are the Benefits of a Pour-over Will?

The benefits of a pour-over will are endless. They can give you peace of mind when it comes to your estate and what will happen to your property after you die. If you own many estates or homes, it can definitely be a good idea to include a pour-over will in your estate planning.

The main benefits include:

  • Completeness. A pour-over will takes all the assets you forgot about or didn’t transfer and puts them into the trust agreement.
  • Privacy. Trusts are private and will ensure you are in control of your entire estate.
  • Makes the executor’s role simpler. You will still have an executor of the state. However, their job is much simpler. They are only required to take all the assets that pass under the will and put them into the living trust. They won’t have to pay all the debts and taxes of the state or distribute the assets to all the correct people named in the will.

If you have a living trust, you are recommended to have a pour-over will.

How a Pour-over Will Works

A pour-over will doesn’t govern your property as a regular will does. Any assets that have not been funded into your living trust will go there when you die. In simpler terms, it names your trust as the beneficiary of any property it does not already hold.

It will also ensure that the property does not pass directly to a living trust beneficiary through another way, such as through a life insurance policy.

Pour-over Will Vs. Last Will

A pour-over will simply acts as a safeguard in case you forget to include a part of your estate or a new part of your estate into your will. Most people want every part of their estate included in their will, so the pour-over will ensure that all parts are included.

You are expected to create the living trust first. This involves choosing a trustee and transferring the assets into the trust. You will name the beneficiaries and detail how you want the trust managed once the trustee takes over the trust.

Once you have the living trust set up and funded with all your assets, you can create the pour-over will. Unlike the last will, the pour-over will won’t have an individual as the beneficiary; it will have the trust as the beneficiary. When you pass away, everything not included in the trust will technically belong in the trust.

You will need to state in explicit dialogue that at the time of death, any property not listed in the trust or without a named beneficiary will be transferred to the trust after you pass.

A pour-over will can become an important part of any estate planning process and should be included if you acquire property regularly or if you plan to add to your estate after making your original will. You should also use it to make sure no part of your estate is forgotten.

You can’t be too prepared when it comes to your estate planning. You should always add one to your will if you can.

Can a Pour-Over Will Avoid Probate Process?

Many people choose a living trust because you can avoid the probate of your property that has already been funded. However, any piece of property that isn’t funded to your trust before you die will require probate. This is still the case even if it’s directed to your trust via a pour-over will.

If you do not fund it into your trust, your property will pass to your heirs according to the laws of the state you live in. It will also pass to your heirs according to the local laws if you don’t create a pour-over will or don’t have any other will in place that directs where the assets should go.

Each state is different, but every state uses a list of kin closely related to the decedent to determine who inherits property by the law if there is no estate plan. It usually includes spouses, parents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Siblings and other distant relatives are usually not included. If you don’t have a pour-over will or any will at all, your property and other things might not go to who you want to have it. Your wishes will also not be honored.

Sometimes people don’t add newly acquired items to their will out of forgetfulness. A pour-over will ensures that all the things you own will still be considered part of your estate and given to the people you love when you pass away.

If you don’t have a pour-over will and you forget to add in a new home you bought, it might end up going to a relative that you are close blood related to but don’t speak to anymore.

Do I Always Need a Pour-Over Will If I Have a Living Trust?

A living trust needs to be done before you make a pour-over will. A living trust is more important in some ways because it ensures there is a plan in place in the event you pass away or can’t manage your estate anymore.

It can’t hurt to add a pour-over will. Your trust agreement can only control the assets that the trust owns. With a pour-over will, your trust automatically owns all your assets.

If you only have a trust agreement, the court-supervised processes of guardianship will proceed as usual even though you have a funded trust agreement. Having a Pour-over will can ensure that no part of your estate is lost during the court processes.

Published: Jun 3, 2022