Should I Get a Pour Over Will?

If you don’t have a will, the law determines what happens to your assets. This is referred to as “intestacy.” Here, your assets will pass to your heirs according to New York’s intestacy statutes. Sometimes this will be in sync with what you want, but sometimes it won’t. If your assets are subject to intestacy, the decision is taken out of your hands. To take control, many individuals choose to create a will. If you decide to execute a will, it may be just one part of the estate planning. You may also need a pour over will. 

What is a Pour Over Will?

A pour over will is one that is used in conjunction with a trust document. For instance, this will involve a living trust, which can at some point, develop into the main instrument for picking your fiduciaries and disposing of your assets.  

The Connection Between Living Trusts and Pour Over Wills 

Creating a living trust is a popular option for New Yorker residents to use to help avoid lengthy probate proceedings. The assets that are part of the trust are separate from personal assets and are passed directly to heirs, and therefore are shielded from probate. But any assets that aren’t transferred into the trust’s control may still have to go through court approval before they are disbursed to beneficiaries. Sometimes pour-over wills are used to capture these assets and can protect them if the assets weren’t transferred into the trust before you pass away.

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

A regular will can allow the testator to do many things, including designating someone to make medical decisions in case of incapacitation or naming a guardian for children. One of the simplest things is that it states who gets an inheritance. However, pour over wills only involve one intended beneficiary- the living trust. 

There are intricacies that accompany using a living trust that can result in assets not always making it into the trust before the individual dies. When this happens, these assets that aren’t transferred into the trust are considered as personal property and will be subject to estate tax and the probate process.  

The purpose of the pour over will is to allow you to let the state know that you want any non-trust assets to be transferred into your living trust after you have passed away; you’re essentially directing your non-trust assets to “pour over” into the trust. 

Do I Need a Pour Over Will?

You might want a pour over will when you have both a living trust and a traditional will. While the will may be used to illuminate which heirs will get specific assets, if it doesn’t target assets to your trust, your heirs must wait for probate and pay fees and taxes before getting personal property.     

Interested in Pour Over Will Guidance? An Attorney can Help

Regardless of how carefully you watch your estate, there may be a risk that some assets won’t make it into your trust. A pour over instrument can remedy this by acting as a safeguard. Get help from one of our skilled estate planning MOWK Law attorneys who can help to ensure that your property is passed along as you have envisioned. Contact us for assistance with committing to your estate plans.