What is a “Pour-Over Will?”

One of key parts of your estate plan is your “pour-over will.”

Yet, many people don’t know what it is, what it does, or why it is needed.

First, what is a “pour-over will?”

Simply put, it is a last will and testament that states that if

there is an asset that was left out of your revocable living trust, then the missing asset is to be put (“poured over”) into your revocable living trust so that the missing asset will be transferred along with the other assets of your revocable living trust.

Another purpose of your pour-over will is to revoke any prior wills you might have had. This avoids the possibility of a conflict between what is stated in your revocable living trust and what was stated in your prior will.

The pour-over will can also state your wishes with regard to who will care for any minor children you might leave behind. This is called nominating a “guardian of the person” of your children. Your revocable living trust will probably contain provisions for the use of your assets for your minor children.

Does a “pour-over” will require probate? Yes. Probate is used to carry out the terms of your will. A will has no effect unless and until it is admitted to probate.

Often, we will not need to use the pour-over will to avoid probate if we have a General Assignment of Assets to our revocable living trust. You should check with your estate planning professional to determine if one is appropriate for you.