Consider Using a Pour-Over Will in Conjunction with Your Trust

pour-over will, Naperville estate planning attorneyAs an estate planning lawyer, I believe that everyone can benefit from having an estate plan. Although many assume estate plans are only necessary for the elderly or ultra-rich, the reality is that every adult should have some sort of estate planning document(s) in place.

A will or trust allows a person to have a say in how their property and debts are distributed after his or her death. For those with children under age 18, a will allows parents to assign an individual to care for their child in the unfortunate case that the parent, or parents, become unable to do so. Trusts are similar to wills in some aspects. A trust directs how property and assets are held for a beneficiary, or recipient, of the trust. A trustee is prearranged to supervise the management of the trust. If you plan to use a revocable living trust, one estate planning element which may be beneficial is a “pour-over will.” A pour-over will is a unique kind of last will and testament used in combination with a trust-based estate plan.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable trust is an estate planning instrument that protects and manages the property as the owner of the will, called the grantor, ages. A living trust can be revised or revoked as the grantor wishes. The trustee is tasked with distributing the grantor’s property to the beneficiaries upon the grantor’s death. However, if the grantor fails to transfer all of his or her property into the trust over the years, the unaccounted-for property would have handled by the probate court. This process can be time-consuming and expensive. A pour-over will transfers property not originally included in the revocable living trust to the trust when the creator of the grantor dies. The property is then subject to the same distribution and management rules as the rest of the property in the trust.

A Pour-Over Will Directs Assets into Your Revocable Living Trust

A pour-over will basically designates your trust as the beneficiary of any property not already held by the trust. Some property can still be passed directly to a living beneficiary through other means, such as a beneficiary designation on a retirement account life or insurance policy. It is important to note that a pour-over will still require probate. However, having a pour-over will in place significantly simplify the process of dealing with property omitted from the trust in probate court.

Contact Us for Help with Wills and Trusts

If you would like to learn more about how trusts and pour-over wills can help you plan for your family’s future, contact an experienced Naperville estate planning attorney today. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule your initial confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm.

 

Sources:

The Balance

Forbes