One of the main documents we provide our clients in their trust estate package is called a “Pour Over” Will. As I tell my clients, having a Trust is an excellent way for their beneficiaries to obtain their share of the client’s estate, without going through the hassle of a probate action. After consulting my clients on the difference between a Will going through probate and trust assets being distributed without probate, I next tell them about a “Pour Over” Will that’s included with an Estate package. When the word “Will” comes out of my mouth, I get one of two reactions: I get asked “If I have a Trust, why do I need a Will?”, or, I get a confused stare from a client afraid to ask the previous question. Having a Will as part of an Estate Package that includes a trust can be very confusing for someone with no experience in Estate Planning.
So, what is a “Pour Over” Will? Just like a standard Will, it’s a document that provides the declaration of a party for directions on how to dispose of their estate after they pass. It declares a Personal Representative (usually the same person who is the Successor Trustee) and instructs that the probate assets be distributed to the party’s trust.
So, why do you need a “Pour Over” Will if you have a trust? The main purpose for having a Pour Over” Will is in case a client has assets that did not get titled into their trust. I advise my clients on what property needs to be titled to their trust (referred to as “funding” their trust), but sometimes there’s either property the client was not aware of, forgot to transfer, or a third party (such as a Bank) fails to follow through and title to the trust. When this occurs, the Pour Over” Will allows the personal representative an avenue to open a probate action to then transfer said assets to the client’s trust. This is where the name “Pour Over” comes from. Without this document, the client’s estate will be considered ‘intestate” (meaning no Will) and any probate assets will then be transferred to persons as directed by the law in the state the client passed in. By having a “Pour Over” Will, you ensure that even if there are assets that don’t make it into the trust, they will still be distributed to the proper beneficiaries.
We highly recommend that you have an attorney draft this document so that it complies with Florida law. We always do FREE consultations, no matter what the issue is. If you have any questions, please contact Aimee at 352-633-9791.