By: Katina H. Pantazis, Esq.

Published at

26 March 2024

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What is a Pour-Over Will?

Key Take-Aways
  1. A Pour-Over Will complement a Revocable Living Trust, capturing any assets not titled in the trust's name during the grantor's lifetime.
  2. It ensures comprehensive asset distribution according to the grantor's intentions.
  3. The Pour-Over Will act as a safeguard, directing assets into the trust, thus bypassing probate and facilitating efficient estate administration.

Apour-over willserve as a safety net, catching any assets not transferred to your living trust during your lifetime. It "pours" these remaining assets into the trust upon your death, allowing them to be distributed according to your pre-determined instructions. This arrangement can prove invaluable if you acquire new assets or must remember to transfer existing ones to your trust.

For instance, if you inherit property after creating your living trust but forget to transfer its title, the pour-over will ensure it's included in your trust upon passing, avoiding probate and ensuring distribution according to your wishes.

Pour-Over Will and Living Trusts:

A Pour-Over Will is a legal document used alongside a Revocable Trust or Living Trust, including those established in the State of Florida, particularly when incorporating a Revocable Living Trust into one's strategy.

These specialized documents act as a safeguard, ensuring that any assets not transferred to the trust during the grantor's lifetime are still accounted for. In essence, pour-over will function as a safety net, catching any assets not titled in the trust's name at the time of the grantor's passing.

By channeling these assets into the trust, pour-over will uphold the grantor's intentions, facilitating comprehensive asset distribution according to their wishes.

Many individuals have an estate plan consisting of a last will and Testaments. In their Wills, they nominate a personal representative to serve as executor.  They also name beneficiaries to receive their inheritance after their passing.

Where a Last Will and Testament is the cornerstone of the estate plan, the terms and provisions of the Will control your assets upon your passing and are enforced by the probate Judge.

Suggested Read:  
" As a Personal Representative, let's together learn what are your Roles and Responsibilities"

When a Revocable Living Trust is created, the trust typically "owns" assets that are transferred to the trust or titled in the name of the trust during the Grantor's lifetime. These kinds of trusts still allow a Grantor to control and use their assets during their lifetime, but avoid the necessity of the probate process (assuming all assets are properly titled in the name of the trust).  

The Trust's Grantor nominates a Trustee to manage the trust assets and distribute them under the terms of the trust upon their death.  The Grantor will also designate beneficiaries to receive inheritance in the trust.  

When a Revocable Living Trust is created as part of an individual's estate plan, a "pour-over will" should also be created to ensure all assets are ultimately transferred to the trust for distribution to beneficiaries.  

A pour-over Will is a safety net, it simply catches and "pours" those assets not titled in the name of the trust into the trust.  In essence, the pour-over will catch any probate assets (assets that were not in the name of the trust and instead were in the decedent's name without a designated beneficiary on said asset), letting the judge know the Grantor intended to transfer all assets to his or her trust after passing.  

This ensures the assets go to the intended beneficiaries under the trust.

Talk To an Estate Planning Attorney Today:

The guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney is invaluable when dealing with the complexities of estate planning, especially when involving Revocable Living Trusts and Pour-Over Wills. These attorneys can provide personalized advice, ensuring that your estate plan reflects your intentions and effectively protects your assets.

Whether you are setting up a trust, drafting a will, or considering the need for a pour-over will, consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you create a comprehensive estate plan, that meets your needs and protects your inheritance. 

If you have questions, about whether you need a Pour-Over Will as part of your estate plan, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys today.

Useful Resources:

  1. Mistakes you Must Avoid as a Personal Representative
  2. Can a Trust Beneficiry waive their right to an accounting
  3. As a trustee what are your Florida Trustee Duties

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is the difference between a simple will and a pour-over will? A simple will directly distribute assets to beneficiaries through probate, while a pour-over will funnel assets into a living trust, bypassing probate. Pour-over will offer more flexibility and efficiency in asset distribution, adapting seamlessly to changes without extensive legal amendments.
Does a pour-over will avoid probate in Florida? Yes, in Florida, a pour-over will can help assets bypass probate by transferring them to a living trust. This process allows for efficient asset distribution according to the trust's terms, avoiding the delays and expenses associated with probate proceedings.
When do you need a pour-over will? A pour-over will is necessary when you have a revocable living trust as part of your estate plan. It ensures that any assets not transferred to the trust during your lifetime are still included in the trust upon your death, facilitating seamless distribution according to your wishes.
What is a Pour-Over Will and its role in estate planning with a Revocable Living Trust? A Pour-Over Will function as a safety net, channeling assets not titled in a Revocable Living Trust during the grantor's lifetime into the trust for distribution, thereby avoiding probate and upholding the grantor's intentions.


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