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What is a Pour-Over Will and Why Might it Be Useful?

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A pour-over will is a document that names a trustee to take over your assets upon your death. This can save you and your loved ones from going through a lengthy and costly probate process.

It also prevents any minor children or incapacitated adults from receiving their inheritance directly from your estate. If you are considering a pour-over will as part of your estate planning, consult with an experienced New York pour-over will lawyer to ensure your intentions are carried out exactly the way you want them.

It Transfers Assets Outside of a Living Trust

A living trust is an excellent way to avoid probate proceedings at the time of your death. However, it only works if all of your assets are transferred into the trust prior to your death.

If you neglect to transfer your assets into a trust or fail to designate beneficiaries to inherit them, a pour-over will can come in handy. By directing any assets that aren’t in a trust be moved into the trust, the pour-over will ensures that they will go to the right people.

This type of will works best when paired with a revocable living trust. For instance, say a couple has established a living trust and then decides to buy investment property.

They title the property in their own names, but later, they die and leave that property to their living trust. The assets are then poured over into the trust and distributed according to the terms of the trust document.

It Avoids Probate

One of the most popular ways to avoid probate is to create a revocable living trust. This type of estate planning tool allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee, who then distributes them after your death.

However, even the best-laid plans can still fail. You may forget to fund certain assets into the trust or you might acquire them in a way that makes it hard to transfer them into the trust while you’re alive.

This is where a pour-over will comes in handy. The pour-over will instructs your executor to transfer any assets you don’t transfer into the trust before you die into the trust.

Once the property is in the trust, your successor trustee will collect it and distribute it according to your instructions in the trust document. In most cases, this process will be much quicker and less expensive than the usual probate court proceedings.

It Keeps Assets Private

A pour-over will is a very useful addition to any estate planning toolkit. It’s a safety net that ensures your remaining assets are transferred into the trust you have established.

This means that any accounts and property you owned individually at your death will pass directly into your living trust. It also avoids the scenario where your beneficiaries receive your accounts and property from your personal representative as an individual, rather than the account or property passing to your living trust.

Creating a pour-over will is essential in protecting your assets from costs such as long-term care, Medicaid recovery, probate courts, taxes and creditors.

A pour-over will also helps ensure that any minor children that you have named as beneficiaries in your will remain protected by your estate until they reach a certain age. It’s important to name a guardian for these children as well, so that they have a caregiver who can continue caring for them after you die.

It Creates a Safety Net

Revocable living trusts are popular estate planning tools that can help you avoid the costs and delays of probate. However, a living trust is only effective when it actually holds the assets you intend to transfer into it.

A pour-over will creates a safety net by ensuring that any assets you forget to transfer into the trust during your lifetime will be added to it upon your death. This helps you avoid a lengthy probate process and keep your assets private.

This type of will is particularly useful for revocable living trusts. For instance, suppose your Grandfather Wally created a trust and funded it with his assets, but later amassed more property. Without a pour-over will, the newly acquired assets would pass to his heirs at law, not to the trust or its beneficiaries.

Having a pour-over will can save your family a great deal of time and money. It can also prevent your assets from being subject to Medicaid recovery.

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