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What is a pour-over will?

You likely have already made a California will, but do you need to make a new one? You may if you have established a living trust. As FindLaw explains, only a pour-over will can ensure that your living trust works the way you intend it to work.

Your pour-over will gives instructions to your executor to pour over any assets you own at the time of your death into your living trust. Consequently, it is your failsafe legal document that provides you with the following advantages:

  • It gives you peace of mind knowing that you no longer need to worry about forgetting or neglecting to place assets in your living trust.
  • It completes your estate plan.
  • It ensures that you maintain your financial privacy to the greatest extent possible.

Probate

Unlike your living trust, your pour-over will must go through probate. Here again, however, it serves you well. The probate of your estate likely will be far simpler, quicker and less expensive than that of most estates. The reason is because your pour-over will gives your executor the authority to pour over all your remaining assets into your living trust once (s)he pays your outstanding bills. (S)he need not deal with complex asset management or evaluation, interim and final accountings, or any of the other issues that so often extend the probate period and cost the estate many hundreds of dollars.

In addition, even though wills and probate are public documents and proceedings, probate will not disclose your financial dealings and arrangements since your pour-over will does not specify any of these. It merely instructs your executor to collect any of your assets not already in your living trust and place them there.

The main thing you should remember is to make sure your pour-over will mentions your living trust and vice versa. Once they do, your estate plan truly is complete and your executor and your trustee together will carry out your financial wishes.

This is educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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