Understanding 'Pour Over Will'

This guide covers the Pour Over Will, which is a document included with the Trust-Based Estate Plan.

If you have questions about our Will-Based Estate Plan, please review this guide instead: Understanding and Creating a Will with a Will-Based Estate Plan

What is a 'Pour Over Will'?

A Pour Over Will is an essential component of estate planning, designed to act in conjunction with a Living Trust to outline your final wishes for your possessions, dependents, and arrangements. It ensures that any assets not already included in your Trust are transferred into it upon your death. This type of Will functions as a safety net, catching any assets that were not placed into the Trust during your lifetime, whether due to oversight, inability, or choice.

How does a Pour Over Will work?

A Pour Over Will is a type of will that names your Living Trust as the beneficiary of any and all assets. Upon your death, any assets not already owned by your Trust are “poured over” into it. It's effectively a backup plan, ensuring that all your assets are managed according to the terms of the Trust. A Pour Over Will can be a saving grace if you forgot to (or were unable to or choose not to) move assets into your Trust while you’re still alive.

A Pour Over Will is not the same as Last Will & Testament, which is the primary document in our Will-Based Estate Plan. A Pour Over will it is meant to work with a Trust, not on it's own. 

Do I need a Pour Over Will?

A Pour Over Will may not seem essential if all your assets have already been placed into a Trust. However, it still plays a crucial role in your estate planning as a safeguard for any future acquisitions or assets you might have overlooked. Here's how it functions throughout different stages of asset management:

  • At the Time of Trust Creation: When your Trust documents are initially signed and notarized, your Trust is not yet 'funded'—meaning no assets are technically placed in the Trust at that exact moment. Therefore, everything you own, except for assets like life insurance or retirement accounts that already have designated beneficiaries, is covered by your Pour Over Will.
  • After Funding Your Trust: As you transfer assets into your Trust, these assets are no longer covered by your Pour Over Will. This process gradually shifts the coverage from the Pour Over Will to the Trust itself. Once all intended assets are transferred, ideally, nothing should remain under the Pour Over Will's coverage.
  • Acquiring New Assets: Should you acquire new assets after establishing the Trust—like purchasing a new home—these assets are initially covered by your Pour Over Will. This coverage lasts until you take the necessary steps to include these new assets into your Trust. This mechanism ensures that all new assets temporarily have protective coverage until formally integrated into your Trust.

How do I create a 'Pour Over Will' document?

When you purchase an Estate Plan, we create a 'Pour Over Will' document from the information you provide to us in the questionnaire.

How to Access Your 'Pour Over Will' Document

You can view, download, or print your 'Pour Over Will' directly from the Estate Plan tab:

How to Edit Your 'Pour Over Will' Document

While you cannot directly modify the final 'Pour Over Will' document that you see in the Estate Plan tab in your account, you can make changes to the specific sections that need to be updated via the Summary tab. These adjustments will then be reflected in your 'Pour Over Will'.

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