A Good Trust Still Needs a Good (Pour Over) Will

I recently met with a client that was very interested in setting up a revocable living trust.  Being thrilled to help a new client set up their estate plan, I went right to work going over all the finer details with him.  At one point, I made mention that one of the benefits of having a living trust is that it really helps to simplify the will.  The look on his face when I mentioned the word “will” was of utter confusion.

Then came the question I knew was coming, “I thought the entire point of setting up a revocable living trust is so that you don’t have to worry about a will; why would I need a will if everything is going to be in my trust?”

This misconception is quite common, and is also completely understandable.  After all, the general benefit of a living trust is that the assets contained within it go directly to your named beneficiaries upon your passing.  So why would you need a will if all of your assets contained within the living trust are already going to be directed to your beneficiaries?

What if you forgot to put some of your assets in to your revocable living trust?  What happens to those unaccounted assets?

So how do we solve this problem of unaccounted assets outside the revocable living trust?  First of all, you should be visiting your estate planning attorney at least every three (3) years to make sure everything is up to spec; this is the best way to stay on top of your estate plan.  But other than that, the simplest solution is to you have in place what is commonly called a “Pour Over Will.”

A “Pour Over Will” is a will designed to take any and all unaccounted assets not currently in your living trust, and upon your death, will direct all such unaccounted assets to be “poured in” to your trust.  After that, the assets will thereafter be dealt with in accordance with the terms of your trust. 

This is a very simple solution to make sure that your well formed revocable living trust transfers all of your assets to the beneficiaries that you specifically designated.

If you are not sure if your trust has a properly prepared pour over will, or if you are interested in having an attorney assist you in setting up an estate plan, Nowakowski Legal PLLC would be glad to assist.  Contact us for a free consultation today.

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