What is a pour-over will?

man and woman sitting in front of paperwork

When planning your estate, it’s essential to consider all of your options. Though many think of a will as their primary estate planning tool, the heads of many estates rely on a living trust to distribute their assets. As such, understanding how to protect the remainder of your assets not included in your trust with a pour-over will is essential. Keep reading to learn more about this option and discover why working with Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys is crucial to ensure your estate is taken care of upon your passing.

How does a pour-over will work?

When you create a living trust, the assets placed in the trust are technically out of your ownership. In fact, many people use these trusts to avoid sending their property through probate. However, as you continue acquiring assets, you may forget to add them to your trust. As such, you can create a pour-over will to transfer property into your trust.

These documents are necessary, as they can help shield your property from probate after you pass away. Generally, a pour-over will and living trust go hand-in-hand. Any assets not included in your living trust will be transferred from your will to the trust upon your death. This helps avoid the remainder of your assets being subjected to the intestate laws in Pennsylvania. Pour-over wills are like safety nets, as they help catch the remainder of your assets.

How do I create one?

If you want to create a pour-over that will continue to protect your assets, the first thing you’ll need to do is to set up a living trust if you haven’t already. Next, you’ll need to lay out the terms when setting up the will. You should explicitly state that any assets not designated to a beneficiary should be transferred to your trust upon your passing.

You’ll also need to ensure you designate an executor of your will. This person is responsible for carrying out your wishes upon your passing.

Is there anything else I should know?

While the assets in your trust will not go through probate, the assets left in your will are subjected to this process. Essentially, probate is the process of validating and authenticating the assets left in your will before they are distributed to your beneficiaries. As such, ensuring you stay up to date and make transfers as necessary to your trust before you pass can help you avoid sending some assets through probate.

If you are ready to start estate planning, ensuring you explore all of your options to help protect your estate is crucial. As this process can be confusing, it’s essential to enlist the assistance of an experienced legal team. The attorneys at Friedman Schuman understand how complex estate planning can be. As such, we will do everything possible to help you achieve peace of mind about your assets. Contact us today to learn more.

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