Pour-over wills are a special kind of will that assures that the remaining assets of a person will automatically transfer to a trust after their demise.
Some grantors make this will to ensure that their assets are not misused after their death or to minimize chances of legal battles between the various beneficiaries, all laying a claim to the assets.
Once the assets automatically transfer to the trust, the process of dividing and bequeathing the assets to the beneficiaries can be carried out in due course. This prevents any single beneficiary from staking a claim, which is especially helpful in cases where the individual died suddenly—for example, in a car accident or from a cardiac arrest.
The pour-over will can be used with any kind of trust, whether revocable or irrevocable. The will has to undergo probate, but the beneficiaries ultimately get their share per the terms.
Why Is a Pour-Over Will Helpful?
Pour-over wills can be helpful because they work with a living trust. The grantor can oversee everything before their death, and the assets are distributed likewise after they have passed away.
Moreover, this will can help avoid costly and lengthy probate after the grantor’s death. Hence, if any portion of the assets is not already put in the living trust at the time of the grantor’s death, then they will act as a safety for that portion of the property.
In some cases, the grantor may have had other plans for a portion of the property or might have thought of creating a trust for it later. However, if they were unable to do so before their death, the pour-over-will safeguards that portion of the assets, transferring it automatically to the existing trust.
Since pour-over wills are often used in emergencies, there is often a need for explicit directives regarding several aspects. In such cases, the will is subject to the laws of the state where the grantor passed away.
On the other hand, pour-over wills also provide extra protection in case of legal issues with the living trust. This may happen if any difficulty arises in disbursing the assets to the beneficiaries in case the trust becomes invalid.
In this case, the assets will be secure even if the trust is dissolved, and they will still be disbursed to the beneficiaries as per the wishes of the grantor. This may also be the case if the trust remains unfunded for some reason or becomes legally difficult to maintain.
Of course, if the grantor has already put everything in their living trust, then a pour-over will is unnecessary. However, a pour-over will is extremely helpful in the estate planning process of large estates, where some aspect or the other often gets left out from being included in the trust. This is typically only discovered after the grantor’s death, resulting in legal battles. A pour-over will acts as a safety net that helps avoid these legal disputes.
At KousLaw PLLC, we help our clients navigate the complex world of corporate law, estate planning, real estate, and probate proceedings. Our team of lawyers will help you make the best plans for your assets to ensure they are in safe hands and distributed to your beneficiaries as per your wish. Under the guidance of Michael G. Koukotis, we will provide you with legal assistance to manage and transfer your property in keeping with the laws of the state. Call us today for a quick consult, and let us take care of all your estate planning needs—you are in good hands.