A pourover will might sound complex because its name includes legal terminology, but it is actually a very straightforward document, and it is essentially a mechanism for use of a revocable trust. A pourover will has many of the standard components found in any will, e.g. names executors, guardians for minor children. The critical provision in any pourover will grants property into the revocable trust. The gift of property should include physical (or tangible) personal property along with any other property. Tangible personal property should be specifically enumerated in order to ensure that the transfer into the trust is considered a specific bequest as opposed to a residual gift. In certain situations, a specific bequest will help to navigate the quagmire of forcing a distribution of net income of the estate prematurely pursuant to certain statutory requirements. Typically, the executor can bypass the trust or the trustee if the property to be distributed would be immediately distributed to the beneficiary. More or less, aside from specific bequests, the grantor’s property that is not already in the revocable trust will be gifted to the trust.
Sometimes individuals elect not to use a revocable trust as part of their estate plan, and in this situation probate court will be involved in the distribution of the estate provided that the assets are greater than $100,000 and/or the testator owns real estate.
At Wills & Trusts, we typically recommend estate plans that involve the construction of a revocable trust, a pourover will, living will and powers of attorney. With these tools, we find that our clients are protected and their wishes will come to fruition.
Please contact an attorney at Wills & Trusts if you have questions about pourover wills.