A pour-over will is a type of will that you would want to include in your estate plan if you are using a revocable living trust as your primary vehicle of asset transfer. Before we look at pour-over wills, we should explain why you may want to establish a revocable living trust.
Efficient Asset Management
When you convey property into a revocable living trust, you are referred to as the trustor or grantor. While you are alive and of sound mind, you can serve as the trustee and control the actions of the trust.
You can also act as the beneficiary, so you can receive monetary distributions from the trust as you see fit.
The trust is revocable, so if you want to, you can dissolve the trust entirely. When you combine all of the above, you see that you maintain complete control over the resources that have been placed into the trust throughout your life.
When you create the trust declaration, you name a successor trustee, and you name successor beneficiaries. You also leave behind instructions that the successor trustee must follow after you pass away.
After your death, the trustee will follow these instructions. Assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes, and these distributions would not be subject to the probate process.
If you use a standard last will to state your final wishes regarding the distribution of property that was in your direct personal possession, the property would not be distributed until the estate was probated and closed by the court. This can take close to a year, even if the case is simple and straightforward.
When a living trust has been established, the asset transfers can take place in a more timely and efficient manner.
Now that you know why you may want to create a revocable living trust, we can look at pour-over wills. When you fund a trust, you make the trust the owner of the property in question. However, you may not convey everything that you own into the trust when you are establishing it.
Plus, you may acquire additional property after you create the trust. You can convey property into the trust after the fact, but you may fail to do so for one reason or another.
With a pour-over will, you allow the trust to absorb property that was in your personal possession at the time of your passing. As a result, the successor trustee could distribute this property to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
Schedule a Consultation
In this post we have looked at the value of revocable living trusts and pour-over wills. If you would like to learn more, contact us through this link to set up a consultation: Sacramento CA Estate Planning Attorneys.