What are Pour-Over Wills and Do You Need One?

What are Pour-Over Wills and Do You Need One?

When you’re planning your estate, you are likely to investigate all of the will and trust options that you have. For those leaning toward a revocable living trust, consider instead a pour-over will.  These instruments are often used in conjunction with a trust and function to allow all of your property that passes through your will to simply be transferred — or poured into — your trust.


There are a number of advantages to using this type of estate tool. For starters, it is always a good idea to have one document that controls your entire estate. In this case, that would be the trust. While the pour-over will would certainly function as its own document, all it does is direct assets toward your trust, leaving the terms of that document as your final say.


Another advantage of a pour-over will is that it offers a degree of completeness that a trust never quite can. Because trusts are written to determine what precisely will be included, often assets can be left out or acquired after the trust was drafted. By using a pour-over will, you can be sure that all of your assets will find their way to your trust.


Additionally, people prefer pour-over wills because they offer a degree of privacy that typical wills do not. Since they do not leave property to heirs in a traditional way, the public will be unaware of how your assets are handled and who has inherited your property. For those interested in a heightened level of discretion, this can provide an excellent option.


The most significant downside of pour-over wills is that, because they are wills, the property must pass through probate before it is transferred to your trust. This can be time-consuming and expensive for your estate. For those who wish to have property transferred immediately may want to instead put all of their assets in a living trust that will be distributed immediately after your death.


End-of-life estate planning can be difficult. If you have questions or need further guidance, consult the skilled Florida estate planning attorneys with BaumannKangas Estate Law.