What is a Pour-over Will?

A pour-over will is used with estates that hold the bulk of their property in trust, and it has three important functions. While creating a trust will transfer property to beneficiaries and allow it to avoid probate, you will still need a will for the following:

1. Naming the Executor of your estate.

A pour-over will names an Executor and should also name at least one backup Executor, should the primary choice be unwilling or unable to serve. If you have a properly drafted and funded trust, your Executor is not going to be tasked as much as the Executor of an estate using primarily a will to transfer property, since property within a Trust avoids probate. But an Executor will still have duties, such as filing a tax return for the estate, paying debts and expenses and other administrative tasks.

2. Naming the Guardian for minor children.

Naming a Guardian for your children is one of the primary reasons parents create a will, and this task cannot be handled by creating a trust. As with the Executor, you should also name at least one backup should your original choice not be able to take on the responsibility.

3. Handling the property not currently owned by the trust.

A pour-over will normally directs an Executor to transfer all property into the Trust that is not held within the trust. This will allow the Trust to act as the main document to distribute your property.

Usually, the main assets and property of an estate are held by the Trust, while a pour-over will would cover any smaller property that was not transferred when the Trust was created. If the property covered by the pour-over will is low enough in value, that property may still avoid a lengthy probate proceeding.

If you are considering creating a trust or drafting a will, work with an estate planning attorney to not only ensure that these documents coordinate with each other, but that they meet your family’s specific needs.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google