What is a Pour Over Will in Estate Planning?

A pour over will is a will that accompanies a revocable living trust. In a revocable living trust, you normally will distribution provisions about who receives the assets upon the death of the first spouse and then upon the death of both spouses. With a pour over will, the key provision states that anything else remaining in the testator’s estate when they pass away is directed to the trust. It’s like a catchall for any remaining assets that didn’t get dealt with prior to the testator’s death.

The pour-over will is helpful in dealing with loose ends, whether it’s a small bank account, a refund check, or a stock account, after someone has passed away. The pour over will also has some of the provisions that we see in a normal last will and testament, such as cremation or burial instructions, the name of an executor, the decision to waive bond, and other administrative provisions or guardianship decisions.

I Have a Revocable Trust. I Thought It Was All I Would Need. Is That True?

A revocable trust is a great estate planning tool. Normally, when you establish a revocable living trust, you will make sure the ownership of your assets is transferred to the trust while you are living. Or, with certain assets, that the trust is named as a beneficiary. Despite our best efforts, sometimes certain items are forgotten or left out. It could be a small checking account, individual stock or small survivor’s benefit. You will need a pour over will to go hand in hand with your revocable living trust to capture those other assets that are out there and bring them into the trust.

In addition, a revocable trust doesn’t deal with guardianship decisions, or detail cremation or burial instructions. It also does not detail administrative powers granted during court proceedings of non-trust assets. Those administrative provisions, executor powers, and nomination of the executor would appear in the pour over will and that’s why it’s necessary to have that will, in addition to the revocable living trust.

When Will a Pour Over Will Be Necessary?

A pour over will is necessary any time you create a revocable living trust. It becomes important when an individual has passed away and the family members have come back to the attorney who drafted the documents. Often, during a trust administration, we are selling real property, transferring assets to beneficiaries, consolidating financial accounts, and selling stock. During this process we frequently uncover accounts that didn’t get a beneficiary designation or were not put in the name of the trust.

We use the pour-over will to get those assets transferred to the trust. The pour over provision states anything left out is to be transferred to the trust. This will get the assets in the hands of the trustee, who in turn transfers the assets to the beneficiaries. I advise clients not to overly rely on the pour over will. If we have to clean up assets that didn’t get dealt with via beneficiary designations or through the trust, there will be more time and expense for the family.

It’s much easier to ensure all the assets have been assigned primary and contingent beneficiaries while the grantor is still alive, or to ensure all assets were properly transferred in the name of their revocable living trust.

For more information on Pour Over Will In The State Of Tennessee, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (615) 628-7775 today.

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