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  • Lynn K. Girvin, Esq.

The Pour-Over Will: Ensuring Your Legacy with a Safety Net

Creating a will is a crucial step in securing your assets and distributing them according to your wishes after you pass away. While traditional wills are common, a pour-over will offers a unique and versatile approach to estate planning. In this blog, we will delve into the concept of a pour-over will, its benefits, and why it might be the perfect addition to your estate planning strategy.

Understanding the Pour-Over Will:

A pour-over will is a legal document designed to complement your existing estate planning, usually a living trust. The primary purpose of a pour-over will is to ensure that any assets not explicitly transferred to the trust during your lifetime will automatically "pour over" into the trust upon your death. Essentially, it acts as a safety net, safeguarding your estate and preserving your final wishes.

Advantages of a Pour-Over Will:

1. Seamless Asset Transfer: One of the main advantages of a pour-over will is its ability to seamlessly transfer assets into your living trust. If you inadvertently forget to transfer an asset to the trust during your lifetime, the pour-over will steps in, automatically transferring the asset upon your passing. This avoids the need for probate, which can be costly and time-consuming.

2. Protecting Privacy: Probate is a public process, meaning that the details of your estate become part of the public record. In contrast, a pour-over will facilitates the transfer of assets privately within the trust, preserving your family's privacy.

3. Flexibility and Control: A pour-over will allows you to maintain control over your assets during your lifetime. You can amend or revoke the trust and the pour-over will at any time, as long as you are mentally competent. This flexibility ensures that your estate plan remains up-to-date with your changing circumstances.

4. Cost-Effective: Probate can be expensive due to court fees, attorney costs, and other related expenses. By incorporating a pour-over will, you can potentially reduce the probate costs for any assets that might have been inadvertently left outside the living trust.

The Process of Creating a Pour-Over Will:

1. Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney: To ensure that your estate planning aligns with your specific needs and goals, seek guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney. They will help you draft a comprehensive pour-over will that complements your living trust.

2. Identify Assets: Make a list of all your assets, including financial accounts, real estate, personal belongings, and investments. Determine which assets you want to include in the living trust and which you would like to pour over.

3. Create the Pour-Over Will: Your attorney will draft the pour-over will, clearly stating your intentions for the distribution of assets that are to be poured into the trust upon your death.

4. Execute the Will: Sign the pour-over will in the presence of witnesses.

A pour-over will is a powerful tool in estate planning, providing a safety net to ensure that all your assets end up in your living trust as per your wishes. By seamlessly transferring assets and avoiding probate, a pour-over will can offer peace of mind to you and your loved ones during an emotionally challenging time. To ensure that your estate plan is tailored to your unique circumstances, it's essential to consult with an estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process and help you secure your legacy for generations to come.

We can help! Call me today to get started (714) 619-4145.


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