Quite a few different types of wills are available to help people set up who gets what when they die. Most people simply refer to them as wills. However, there are a few types that have specific names in order to better identify the purpose for which they have been designed. Pour over wills are one of these. They are not stand-alone wills, but rather, they are used in combination with a living trust.
A living trust is set up while the owner (grantor) of the estate is alive. It is designed to cover the assets that the grantor will be giving to his beneficiaries. The living trust is in effect while the grantor is alive. Once he dies, the estate must go into probate, and the terms of the living trust that are to be carried out at this point go into effect. The pour over will goes into action at this time as well if necessary.
A trustee is named by the grantor to manage the living trust while the grantor is alive. His duties include managing the assets of the estate in the best interests of those beneficiaries who stand to inherit them. The person creating the trust for his beneficiaries can decide to act as the trustee if he wants to do so. The beneficiaries are named within the trust documentation.
What Is a Pour Over Will?
A Pour Over Will has one primary purpose in mind. It is designed to “catch and pour over” any property or assets that aren’t specifically mentioned within a living trust. These assets might have been left out on purpose or they may have been omitted accidentally. Either way, the pour over will is designed to catch the error and transfer the assets into the trust upon the death of the testator or individual who created the trust. In this way, the assets will eventually go to the beneficiaries of the estate.
An example of an asset that might be excluded from a living trust intentionally is a motor vehicle or some type of real estate. Assets that are left out of the trust accidentally are simply ones that have been overlooked or forgotten.
What Does a Pour Over Will Cover?
A will of this type must cover two essential aspects of the estate. First, it must state the name of the individual who will take control of the unfunded assets. This person will act as the executor or personal representative of the estate.
Secondly, it must provide a clear indication of the powers that the executor will have in regard to the estate. This might appear as a list or it can be more simply worded.
A third aspect exists to the pour over will when minor children are involved. A guardian for the children will be named in the document so that the children will be taken care of upon the death of the parents.
Can the Living Trust Exist Without the Pour Over Will and Vice Versa?
The living trust can exist without the pour over will. It is created in full by the grantor while he is alive and designed to function while he is alive. This is where its name originates from. The living trust is a valid and legal document that can operate with or without the pour over will.
On the other hand, the pour over will only serves a purpose in conjunction with the living trust. It needs to be linked to the trust so that it has a location for each of the unassigned assets.