As many individuals begin to plan for their future and the future of their estate, they are shocked by how many options there are. Many people are familiar with the term “will” and its significance, but too often individuals are also unfamiliar with any other estate planning instruments.
If you have started the process of looking into protecting your assets, an estate planning attorney may have recommended that you create a revocable living trust as the key document in your estate plan, rather than a will. A revocable living trust, if done correctly, will allow your estate to bypass the probate process, as well as keep your information private. Wills become a part of the public record after your death, whereas trusts do not.
Additionally, if you ultimately decide to do a revocable living trust, you may be surprised to learn that your attorney also recommends that you create a pour-over will. You may wonder, what is the purpose of doing a will, if you’ve already decided that you would rather do a trust instead? The truth is that a pour over will is quite important if your estate planning device is a trust.
A pour-over will is a device that is used simultaneously with a trust. When the individual dies, the pour-over will then “pour” over into the trust any property still owned by the deceased person at the time his/her death.
One reason a pour-over will is beneficial is because the deceased person might acquire property shortly before they die and forget to put it into the trust. Other reasons a pour-over will is helpful is so the deceased can intentionally leave certain property out of the trust during his lifetime to avoid certain property taxes and inconveniences associated with transferring property into a trust. Some people forget about assets that they own which are not titled in the name of the trust. In other cases, assets are not correctly titled to the trust and may have to go through probate in order to pass into the trust.
A simple pour-over will can help your assets pass into the trust so that your assets are accounted for in the simplest manner for you and your family. If you or a loved one have a trust in place but do not have a pour over will, contact an attorney to learn about drafting the document and what it entails. A skilled elder law attorney will afford you the representation you deserve and ensure your legal rights are protected.