How Does A Pour-Over Will Work?

May 25, 2021

One of the most important issues when it comes to estate planning is choosing the correction options within your Last Will and Testament (will) for your circumstances to ensure that your assets are divided according to your wishes. In most circumstances, a pour-over will is typically paired with a living trust. The purpose of a pour-over will is to transfer some or all of your assets to a trust of your choice upon passing.

If you have a living trust, creating a pour-over will can be vital in ensuring that your assets go to the individuals you intended them to go to upon your death. If you neglect estate planning, your property and assets will be distributed to your heirs according to the state laws of intestate succession, which may or may not be according to your wishes.

Contact the Johnson Law Group for help and advice on all aspects of estate planning today. Phone our experienced estate planning attorneys at (720) 463-4333 or text-to-chat (720) 730-4558 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

The Advantages of a Pour-Over Will

Why go through the trouble of drawing up a special will only to transfer assets to your trust upon your passing? A pour-over will has a number of additional advantages, including:

A Pour-Over Will Provides Clarity and Simplicity

When a pour-over will exists, the executor of your estate, rather than distributing assets to certain individuals, only needs to move unallocated assets into the living trust. The trust then determines which individuals receive property and assets.

A Pour-Over Will Is Comprehensive

Individuals generally do not hold all their assets and property in a living trust. A pour-over will provides a comprehensive solution by ensuring that all unallocated assets will automatically “pour-over” into the trust at the time of your death.

Pour-Over Wills and Trusts Ensure Privacy

Trusts afford a level of privacy for your heirs since they will not become part of the public record after you pass away. This ensures the details of your inheritance remain out of the public eye.

If you have set up a living trust to avoid probate, a pour-over will is a necessary backup plan that ensures any unallocated assets will be transferred to your trust.

The Disadvantages of a Pour-Over Will

According to the Denver Bar Association, all wills and intestate estates must go through probate. Therefore, one of the main disadvantages of a pour-over will is that the assets passing through the will are still likely to end up in probate. Any assets due to be poured into the living trust are potentially in a holding pattern before they can be distributed to the living trust beneficiaries. This can cause delays for months after the death of the trust maker.

Property contained in the living will, on the other hand, can typically reach heirs within a short few weeks after the passing of an individual. Therefore, it can be a good idea for those who are considering a pour-over will to allocate as many assets as possible to their living trust while they are alive. The pour-over will then functions as an “insurance” that ensures any unallocated property is added to the living trust after death.

The goal of a good estate plan should ideally be to transfer the majority of the property to the living trust during your lifetime. If the value of assets contained in a pour-over will is low, they may qualify for a less formal “small estate” probate process which is typically cheaper, faster, and simpler than a regular probate procedure.

An experienced estate planning lawyer from Johnson Law Group can help you set up an estate plan that suits your personal circumstances and ensures your inheritance is distributed according to your wishes. Contact us today to find out more about pour-over wills or to review your estate plan.

Should I Set Up a Pour-Over Will?

Whether or not you should set up a pour-over will is dependent on your individual circumstances. A pour-over will can be a good idea if you have a living trust and expect there to be unallocated assets that need to be transferred into the trust when you die. An estate planning attorney can advise you on whether setting up a pour-over will can be a beneficial addition to your particular estate plan.

An Estate Planning Attorney Can Update Your Estate Plan

Regularly evaluating your estate plan to ensure it is still fit for the purpose is a must, especially if your financial or family situation has changed due to a major life event. Even if your circumstances have not changed considerably, reviewing your estate plan as a matter of prudence every three to five years is generally advisable.

An estate planning attorney from our law group can analyze your individual circumstances and advise you accordingly. If you already have an estate plan, an experienced lawyer can help you review, revise, or supplement an estate plan. An estate planning lawyer knows the relevant state and federal laws that govern the distribution of your assets after death and can help you in various ways, including but not limited to:

  • Creating a pour-over will and other types of wills
  • Designating beneficiaries
  • Establishing powers of attorney
  • Reducing tax liability
  • Avoiding probate
  • Setting up trusts for asset protection

Contact the Johnson Law Group for Estate-Planning Help Today

Estate planning is something that many individuals leave for “tomorrow” until it may be too late to make adequate provisions. While we understand that nobody likes to think about their death, unexpected circumstances can happen at any age.

Planning for your estate sooner rather than later ensures that your loved ones will be protected whatever happens and that your assets and property will be divided according to your wishes. If you do not make adequate provisions during your lifetime, the state will decide what happens with your estate upon your passing.

The experienced estate planning attorneys from the Johnson Law Group can offer you individualized estate planning solutions tailored to your unique circumstances. We aim to make estate planning as easy and hassle-free as possible for our clients. Get the process started today and call us at (720) 463-4333 or text-to-chat (720) 730-4558 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
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