A Living Trust and a Pour-Over Will work together well to create a complete estate plan. These two documents are extremely valuable for retaining control over the distribution of your assets before and after your death.
When you create a Living Trust as part of your estate plans, authorities will distribute your high-valued assets according to the instructions in your trust.
But you may forget to include property in your trust, or you might miss the chance to include certain things before passing away. In this case, a Pour-Over Will helps you add those missing assets.
Complete your estate plans with a Last Will & Testament
How do a Living Trust and a Will work into my estate plans?
Before you pass away, you probably want to have a say in the shaping of your legacy, passing off your inheritances, and taking proper care of your family. With a Living Trust and a Will, you can outline your wishes for property distribution and family care after your death.
Read more: Common Questions About Estates
For instance, someone with a large estate and many high-valued assets might choose to use a Living Trust. Business owners often use trusts to protect assets such as bonds, stocks, or real estate. With this document, the distribution of assets avoids the public probate process. Beneficiaries typically receive their inheritances quicker from a trust than from a Last Will and Testament.
Creating a Living Trust doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t create a Last Will. But it does mean that your Will might look a bit different.
What is a Pour-Over Will?
A Pour-Over Will is a special type of Last Will and Testament that works together with a Living Trust.
This document transfers—or pours—any missed property into your Living Trust when you pass away. Basically, having this type of Will helps you cover all your bases and prevents any applicable property from being left out of your Living Trust.
A Pour-Over Will is simpler than a normal Will, since it excludes detailed instructions for property distribution. However, this estate-planning document allows you to leave instructions typically left out of a Living Trust:
- Name an executor to carry out the wishes written in your Will
- Appoint a guardian for any minor or dependent children
- Specify gifts (such as jewelry or family heirlooms) to leave to certain people
Should I use a Pour-Over Will or a Last Will and Testament?
If you’ve already created a Living Trust, you should use a Pour-Over Will to supplement your estate plans. The main purpose of this type of Will is to transfer any remaining property into your trust when you pass away. You must have a Living Trust to create a Pour-Over Will, but you don’t need one to create a standard Last Will and Testament.
Whether you use a Living Trust or a Last Will depends on the size of your estate and how you want to distribute your assets. There are advantages to both documents, so evaluate your situation to see which one better suits your needs.
Using a Living Trust and Last Will to plan your estate
Since a Pour-Over Will catches any property that wasn’t included in a Living Trust, it works as an excellent back-up plan. That extra layer of protection in your estate plans can give you peace of mind.
With these two documents, your executor and trustees can handle your estate according to your wishes even in the event of an oversight or mistake.