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Estate Planning Basics: Pour Over Wills

Pour over wills are an important estate planning tool. This article discusses pour over wills in Florida and their relationship to revocable living trusts.

Will Basics

A will is one of the most well-known estate planning tools. As you probably know, in a will a person documents his or her wishes for the disposition of his or her property after death. Wills can dispose of one discrete piece of property, or all of someone’s property. If a person dies without a will, he or she said to have died “intestate.” If property is not disposed of through a will or other estate planning device, that part of the property will pass to a beneficiary based on Florida’s intestate laws. Though intestate laws generally try to mimic what someone would do if he or she were to choose where the property goes, it is better for the will to cover all of the property that someone owns so that the deceased’s wishes can be carried out exactly as he or she wants.

Revocable Trust Basics

Pour over wills work in conjunction with revocable trusts, so it is important to also have a basic understanding of revocable trusts. A revocable trust is an estate planning tool where a trust is created by the person planning his or her estate. A trust holds property for the benefit of someone else, and the property in the trust is held and managed by someone called a “trustee.” The person who creates the trust and names the trustee(s). The creator of the trust, called the grantor, puts property in the trust and then the property in the trust will pass to beneficiaries. Typically, in the scenarios that use a pour over will, the property passes at the death of the grantor. The beneficiaries are the people that the grantor chooses to receive property from the trust. For example, let’s say there is a grandfather who wants to give his grandson $1000. The grandfather can leave $1000 for the grandson in the will, or the grandfather can put $1000 into trust for the grandson that is payable at the time of the grandfather’s death. While the outcome is the same, money passed through trust

Pour Over Wills

The purpose of a pour over will is to make sure that none of the property from someone’s estate passes to beneficiaries through intestacy laws or by the will itself. In other words, a pour over will makes sure that all property goes through a trust set up for estate planning purposes. A pour over will basically says, “all the rest of my property should go into (a particular) trust.” This way, if someone forgets to include property in the initial trust, or acquires property between the creation of the trust and his or her death, the property will still end up in the trust. Unfortunately, because technically, pour over wills are still property passing through will, the assets that are passed through the pour over will are subject to probate.

The Villages Estate Planning Attorneys

If you are thinking about using a pour over will, or any other kind of estate planning tools, you should talk to a qualified estate planning attorney to find out what tools will work best for your specific situation. Our experienced estate planning attorneys at Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group, located in the Villages, can help you to plan your estate to minimize extraneous costs and frustrations.

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