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What is a pour-over will?

A pour-over will is something you may want to use if you're going to use a living trust. It helps to move your assets when you pass away so that your wishes are followed.

Essentially, the pour-over will takes any assets that you did not move to the trust while you were alive and it transfers them over. It's sometimes described as a safety net, transferring assets that you may have forgotten or that you simply did not have time to move due to an unexpected passing.

The trust will already stipulate how your assets are to be transferred to those named as beneficiaries. Any assets that are caught and moved by the pour-over will then get distributed in the same fashion. This is a simple way to get everything in one place and spread it out as you please.

You may also use a regular will. However, that will could then wind up in probate, going before the court to make sure it's legitimate, and then the assets would be transferred. The living trust can also pass assets to your heirs, but you'll then have both a trust and an estate. The pour-over will puts everything from your estate into your trust first.

If you know how you want your assets to be distributed, it's crucial to do this type of planning in advance. The last thing you want to do is have your estate handed out in a way that does not match up with your desires or what is best for your family. Be sure you know what options you have and all of the various legal tools to consider.

Source: Nerd Wallet, "5 Key Items for Your Estate Plan," Heather Castle, accessed April 27, 2017

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