We’ve moved! We didn’t go far and look forward to seeing you in our new space located at 1255 Crescent Green Drive, Suite 200, Cary, NC 27518

Pour-Over Will

There are many different types of trusts and wills to consider when planning your estate. While many people may already know who they intend to name as their heir(s), they may not immediately realize that the decisions they make and minor oversights during the estate planning process can lead to lengthy probate proceedings for their families.

A pour-over will is a type of will that can be used to ensure that all of your assets are received by your intended beneficiaries with little interference from the legal system.

What Is A Pour-over Will?

A pour-over will is a fantastic estate planning tool that allows you to rest assured that any unnamed assets in your will will be transferred to the beneficiaries you have selected. The beneficiary of a pour-over will is a revocable living trust, so any unnamed property will go to the trust after you pass, and from there, it will be distributed to your heirs by the trustee you have designated.

While assets covered by a pour-over will must still go through probate, this type of will is a safety device to protect intended beneficiaries against the probate process. Probate property is any property not included in your will that becomes subject to intestate succession laws. A judge will determine how to divide this property during probate, and this judge may not select the same beneficiaries you would have chosen yourself.

Non-probate property is transferred automatically to another person upon your death because there are clear directions in your will and/or trust. It is an ideal way to join your probate and non-probate property after your death.

How Does A Pour-over Will Work?

You may be wondering, how does this work?

A pour-over will is a legal document that ensures an individual’s remaining property will automatically transfer to a pre-established revocable living trust upon their death. It is designed to ‘catch and pour over’ ownership of assets not captured in a will. These assets might be omitted accidentally or left out on purpose.

The beneficiary of a pour-over will is your revocable living trust, which makes the probate process easier. A judge will determine during probate that the remaining assets should be transferred to the trust and will not divide them among any other possible heirs. It will shorten the duration of the probate process and ensure that ownership of your probate property goes to your intended beneficiaries of the trust.

Who Could Benefit From A Pour-over Will?

Anyone who establishes a revocable living trust can benefit from a pour-over will. In a perfect scenario, your living trust would designate all of your assets to your intended beneficiaries. However, as you accumulate additional property, there may be a chance that you might not have the opportunity to update your trust before you pass away. Establishing a one now will ensure that in the future, your wishes are honored regarding your unnamed assets.

Do I Need A Lawyer For A Pour-over Will?

You are not required to work with an attorney to create a pour-over will. However, in order to ensure that it can hold up under legal scrutiny, it is important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. Your attorney will guide you through the requirements of creating it and ensure that it is ironclad. Your attorney can also establish your living trust and even act as your executor. To learn how an estate planning lawyer can help, schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Have a Will and a Pour-Over Will?

Yes, you can have a traditional will and a pour-over will. Pour-over wills and traditional will have different terms. In traditional wills, a testator gives specific property to various beneficiaries, whereas a pour-over will passes all probated property to a trust.

Assets you acquire after making a will may not be updated in the will before you pass. A pour-over will automatically allocates these assets—as well as any assets that cannot be included in a will—to your trust.

Who Is the Beneficiary of a Pour-Over Will?

The beneficiary of a pour-over will must be a revocable living trust. Your living trust is established while you are alive, and you will select a beneficiary for that trust. Therefore, after you have passed, your property will go to the trust and thus to the beneficiary of the trust.

Does It Help Avoid Probate?

Unfortunately, no. A pour-over will is subject to intestate succession laws and will be probated. This is because property in a pour-over will is not yet owned by the beneficiary. The property has to go through the probate process before the beneficiary can claim ownership. The assets are transferred only after the probate process is complete.

However, it will make the probate process more efficient because a judge will not have to determine who should inherit your estate. Rather, it ensures the smooth transfer of your assets to your living trust.

A pour-over will also enhances privacy. Although probate is public, a pour-over will keeps the distributions of your estate private.