Pour Over Will

Q. If I have a living trust, do I still need a will?

A. Yes. Attorneys who prepare trusts usually prepare what is known as a pour-over will to complement the trust. The pour-over will is very much like a regular will, but it bequeaths items to the trust that have not been previously registered to the trust. Items such as automobiles, clothing, furniture, etc., are bequeathed to individuals or to the trust. The purpose of the pour-over will is to provide for assets that have not been placed in a trust.

Assets such as real property can be registered to a trust by deeding the property from John Doe to John Doe, Trustee, UTD (under trust dated) 4/17/03, FBO (for benefit of) John Doe. Stocks, bonds, money market accounts, and/or bank accounts would be registered the same way. All items that have not been registered in this manner would be bequeathed from the pour-over will to an individual or to the trust and would have to be probated.

Most people who have a living trust prepared have most of their assets registered in their trust, and, if all of their other assets are less than $25,000.00, a very fast and inexpensive probate procedure called Summary Administration may be utilized. Estate planning techniques and procedures may sound complicated and bothersome but are usually easy to understand once you apply them to your individual situation.

Pour-over wills generally contain a “separate writing” provision that enables the testator to list on a separate piece of paper his personal assets such as jewelry, clothing, furniture, china, etc., that he desires specific individuals to have upon his death. This may be accomplished without mention in his will. These items can be listed on a piece of paper, signed by the testator, and attached to the will. As the items are given away, sold, etc., before the testator dies, the list can be changed without the aid of an attorney.

The pour-over will also name a personal representative and successor who is usually the same person as the successor trustee of the living trust, if qualified. In most cases, the will also has a provision which calls for the waiver of posting bond. Pour-over wills should be notarized in order that witnesses do not have to be proven.

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