Russ Cook & Associates, PC

Do I need a pour-over will?

Creating a revocable living trust can be a very wise decision for people who want to achieve certain goals with their estate plans. For instance, if you want to avoid probate and prioritize your privacy, and if you want to continue to manage and control the assets in the trust yourself, then creating a revocable living trust can be prudent.

However, there may be property that is not transferred to the trust, which can lead to confusion and disputes once the time comes to administer an estate. In these situations, a pour-over will can provide critical direction.

What is a pour-over will?

Broadly speaking, a pour-over will is a document stating that any remaining assets you have that were not transferred into a trust and do not have a "pay on death" or "transfer on death" beneficiary will automatically transfer into the trust in the event of your death. As such, a pour-over will is often created together with a living trust.

Do I really need to have one?

A pour-over will is an effective back-up plan to ensure all assets are put into a living trust. This can include assets a person might have forgotten about or any that he or she did not have time or opportunity to transfer.

Understand, though, that a pour-over will still needs to go through probate. It must also be a valid will to be enforceable.

If a pour-over will is invalid or there is no will of any kind, then the distribution of any assets outside a trust will be made in accordance with Tennessee state laws.

Considering all your legal options

Numerous estate planning tools including pour-over wills are available to people who are deciding what to do with their property and assets after they pass away. In fact, there are so many options that it can prove to be overwhelming. Because of this, you should consider discussing your estate planning goals with an attorney who can sort out your options and help you take the steps necessary to accomplish these goals. 

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