WHAT IS A POUR OVER WILL? Everything You Need to Know

what is a pour over will

You may wish to prepare a “pour-over will” if you created a revocable living trust to avoid probate. This sort of will is intended to deal with any assets that you do not add to the trust before your death. Upon your death, any property that passes through your pour-over will should be transferred to (or poured into) your trust. And subsequently, it will be disbursed to the trust beneficiaries. Learn everything about a pour-over will, including how it works in Florida, in this article.

What is a Pour-Over Will in a Living Trust?

A Pour-Over Will is a type of Will that allows assets to be transferred automatically to a Living Trust that has already been established. It’s beneficial for smaller assets that you may have forgotten about or that you decided not to include in your trust for a variety of reasons.

How Does a Pour-Over Will Work?

Pour-over wills are used to support a trust. When a trust’s grantor dies, whatever assets he owns that haven’t been transferred to the trust can’t be managed by it. A pour-over’s purpose will be to collect and control any assets that were left out of the trust. The testator devises to the trust all of his non-trust possessions via a pour-over will.

When it is discovered after the decedent’s death that he had a property that he had forgotten about or was unaware of in the first place, this can be quite beneficial. Assets that are mistakenly left out of a trust are more common than one may believe. People may forget about a long-lost bank account or estate property from a long-dead relative. A pour-over will merely adds a layer of protection by ensuring that all of the property that a grantor desires to be included in the trust is included.

Example of Pour-Over Will

Let’s look at this example:

Almost all of Gary’s assets and property are held in a living trust. To properly secure himself, his wife, and his children, he writes a Pour-Over Will. This will then reads, “all assets or property not in my trust at the time of my death, that are not unambiguously left to a beneficiary of my will, should instantly go into my Living Trust.” When Gary dies, his will is probated. And then, all of his property “pours over” into the trust, where it can be given to the trust’s beneficiary.

The process took a little longer in this example than it would have if Gary had simply put everything in his Trust from the start, or if he had simply let the assets in the Will go through probate and then be distributed directly to beneficiaries.

Why Use a Pour-Over Will?

A pour-over will aims to transfer all of your assets according to the trust document’s stipulations. The following are some of the advantages of using a pour-over will to support a trust:

  • Because the estate plan is managed by a single instrument, the trust, it is less complicated.
  • It keeps the details of who gets what private. This is because, unlike your will, a trust instrument does not become a public record after your death,
  • It looks after “leftovers,” or things you didn’t get around to transferring to the living trust before you died.

Read Also: HOW MUCH DOES A WILL COST? What You Should Know

The Executor’s Job as Regards a Pour-Over Will

The executor of a pour-over will is responsible for any assets that pass under the terms of the will. That is, whatever you own that wasn’t already transferred to the trust. It’s the same for every other will. However, with a pour-over will, your executor must transfer all assets to the living trust rather than disburse them immediately to beneficiaries. The trustee’s replacement takes charge after that. (Though your executor and successor trustee could be the same person in practice.)

The Successor Trustee’s Role

Your executor transfers assets to your living trust after your death, using your pour-over will. The obligation for them then falls to the successor trustee. The duty of a successor trustee is similar to that of an executor. There’s only one important distinction: the trustee is only in charge of trust assets. As a result, the trustee will disperse the trust assets in accordance with the trust document’s stipulations.

If the sole purpose of establishing a living trust is to avoid probate, your trust instrument may simply direct the trustee to release all assets to the beneficiaries as soon as feasible. (Trust assets don’t need to be probated.) If you intend to leave trust assets to children, young adults, or someone with special needs, your trust agreement may contain more complicated instructions.

For example, a trustee might be instructed to hold money for a young beneficiary in trust until the beneficiary reaches a specific age. He can then distribute it in three installments over a ten-year period. You have complete control. Because of this flexibility, a successor trustee may be in charge of money management long after the executor has completed his or her duties.

What Are the Differences Between a Will and a Pour-Over Will?

The Pour Over Will might imply a straightforward, comprehensive, and personal end result. Trusts can provide tax savings, privacy, and a variety of other advantages that estate planning professionals consider desirable and worthwhile. Any assets in a simple Will cannot benefit from the same tax advantages as assets in a Living Trust.

Pour Over Wills and Probate 

It would be a shame if your estate required a full-fledged probate case after you established a revocable living trust to save your family the price and time of probate. However, a pour-over will is treated the same as any other will when it comes to probate. The assets that pass through your pour-over will must go through probate. Unless, of course, a state statute allows for a probate shortcut.

Fortunately, a pour-over will usually only allow a little amount of property to get through. You would have transferred all of your valuable assets to the trust before you died if you had done your estate planning well.

Under the provisions of your pour-over will, only minor items should pass. Your estate may be eligible for special “small estate” probate procedures as a result. These procedures, known as “summary probate,” are less time-consuming, less expensive, and less complicated than traditional probate. Except for real estate, most states allow them to be used for any type of property.

Advantages of Pour-Over Wills 

The pour-over will has a number of benefits, including:

  • Simplicity. When everything is governed by a single document, the trust, it is easy to see who gets what. It also makes the job of the executor and trustee a lot easier. After all, they are in charge of closing your estate after your death,
  • Completeness. You’re not going to give your living trust all you own. (It’s impossible.) A pour-over will handles whatever assets you don’t get around to transferring to the trust before you pass away.
  • Privacy. Unlike wills, trusts remain private after your death and are not accessible to anyone who wants to look at them. The specifics of who inherits your property are kept more private in this way. (One celebrity who left a will that just dumped all of his assets into a trust was Michael Jackson. When the will was filed with the court, reporters and the curious raced to read it. However, no one knew who would inherit.)

Disadvantages of Pour-Over Wills

The property that passes through a pour-over will, like all wills, must go through probate. That means that any property destined for a living trust could become stuck in probate before the trust can distribute it. This may require the living trust to continue after the will and trust maker’s death for months. Property left directly through a living trust, on the other hand, can typically be delivered to beneficiaries within weeks of the trust maker’s death.

Fortunately, a pour-over will usually only allow a little amount of property to get through. You’ll transfer all of your valuable assets to the trust while you’re still living if you’ve done your estate planning well. Under the terms of the will, just the leftovers—items of small value—should pass. Your estate may qualify for special “small estate” probate proceedings if the value of the property that falls under the will (commonly referred to as the “probate estate”) is modest enough. Compared to traditional probate, these procedures are faster, easier, and less expensive. They can be used for almost anything except real estate in most states.

How to Create a Living Trust with a Pour-Over Will in Estate Planning

It is actually quite simple to include a “Pour-Over Will” in your estate plan. It’s easier to comprehend how it works if you think of it as a safety net. You must first establish a Living Trust before you can make your Pour-Over Will.

You’ll need to choose a Trustee before you can start making your Trust. You’ll designate beneficiaries and specify how you want the Trust maintained once the Trustee takes over after you’ve financed the Trust (by moving assets into it).

You can make your pour-over will once your living trust has been established and financed. Individuals would not be the beneficiaries of your will, but the trust would. This implies that everything in your will is now set up to go to the trust when you die. Any assets or property that are not in the trust at the time of death and do not have a named beneficiary should be transferred to the trust when you pass away, according to the language of your Pour-Over Will.

To ensure that your pour-over will is legitimate, make sure it is properly signed and witnessed. You should check with your state to see how many witnesses are required.

Pour Over Wills in Florida 

A pour-over will in Florida is commonly used in conjunction with a revocable, living, or irrevocable trust by many of Jacksonville’s finest estate planning attorneys. When a person dies in Florida, a pour-over will transfers all of the decedent’s probate-eligible property and assets to the decedent’s trust. The trust’s terms dictate how the property transferred into the trust is allocated to the trust’s beneficiaries.

How The Pour-Over Will Works In Florida

After the testator passes away, the Will must be administered by a personal representative. If the person named in the will is unable to serve after the will is admitted to the court and approved by a judge, the Florida court will appoint a personal representative. The executor usually has a lot of responsibilities, and the administration might be lengthy. The personal representatives’ sole responsibility under a Pour-Over Will is to transfer any assets in the decedent’s estate to his or her trust.

The trust’s trustee is in charge of administering the trust after the transfer is completed. The trustee will be instructed by the trust document on how to divide the trust assets and which assets, if any, will be kept in the trust.

With the rise in couples with children from previous marriages, it’s more important than ever to have a Florida will or a Florida pour-over will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. The default provisions of Florida statutes frequently cause unfavorable outcomes and might put your family in a difficult situation. It’s also vital to prepare or update your Florida Will if you own property, have children, are recently married or divorced, or wish to make a specific gift. Our estate planning lawyers in Jacksonville can assist you in ensuring that your property is allocated according to your intentions.

In Conclusion,

Getting your affairs in order before you die will make things easier for your family after you pass away, regardless of the size of your estate. Including a pour-over will in your living trust can ensure that all of your assets are secured after you pass away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need a pour over will?

You need a pour-over will because you can utilize it to transfer assets into your trust that aren’t already in your trust before you die.

What is the difference between a last will and a pour over will?

A last will differs from a pour-over will in that a last will is intended to handle your entire estate, such as leaving it to your spouse or children. A pour-over will is used in conjunction with either a revocable living trust or an irrevocable trust to move assets into the trust.

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