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Pour-Over Will: 5 Things to Know

Witness signing legal document

A pour-over will is a great legal tool to ensure your assets go to those you love when you pass away. Unfortunately, they aren’t talked about very much, though you have probably heard about a will before.

Here are 5 things to know about a pour-over will and why you should consider one:

A Pour Over Will Works with Your Living Trust

The first thing to know is that this type of document works hand in hand with a living trust. And even though about 60% of Americans haven’t done estate planning, we’re hoping you’re in that 40% who has!

But just in case you need a reminder, a living trust is a legal document that “owns” the assets you put into it, though you still have control. It’s meant to make it easier for you to pass along your assets when you die.

So what’s the point of a pour-over will? Essentially it acts as your “catch-all” document. You can use your pour-over will to say that any assets you hadn’t put into your living trust should be moved into the living trust upon your death.

Why Do You Need a Pour-Over Will?

You’ve accumulated a lot of assets and possessions, right? Don’t just think about the financial assets such as stocks, bonds, or cash. You may have other investments like real estate or businesses.

But that’s not all. What about your cars or maybe an expensive computer? Do you have jewelry? Maybe you have some priceless things around your home like original artwork or photographs?

When you set up your living trust, there’s a good chance you didn’t move every single asset into the living trust. A pour-over will is a document that makes sure those assets – whether they were intentionally left out or it was an accident – get moved into the trust when you pass on.

Does a Pour Over Will Prevent Probate?

The short answer is no. Since the assets are not in your living trust yet, they will still have to go through the probate process.

The good news is that the probate process doesn’t last forever. Once it’s over and the assets are moved into the living trust, these assets that were initially left out of the living trust now have their protections and extra privacy.

What is the Difference Between a Pour-Over Will and a Will?

Great question. A simple will is better than nothing in the estate planning world. It’s a great way for you to ensure your wishes are carried out when you pass on.

The problem with a simple will is it doesn’t take advantage of a living trust. Since a living trust protects the assets it “owns”, it’s something we here at Hunsberger Law recommend to almost all of our clients.

Ideally, you would have both. Then you also have the pour-over will to make sure any assets you didn’t have in the living trust at the time of death get moved into it.

How Do You Set Up a Pour-Over Will?

This is where it’s important to work with a good California lawyer, such as Hunsberger Dunn Law. You want someone who has been doing this for a long time and knows the estate planning world inside and out. We can provide you with the personalized guidance you need with everything.

We realize there’s a lot to take in – that’s why we walk you through every step of the way. To reach out to our pour-over will lawyers, just click the link or give us a call at 714-663-8000. We’ll talk to you soon.


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