If You Have a Living Trust, You Should Write a Pour-Over Will Just to Be Safe
One of the main reasons to set up a living trust is that the assets you place in the trust do not have to go through probate. If all of your assets belong to the trust at the end of your life, your estate might not need to go through probate at all. Some people choose to put some of their assets into a trust and let the others go through probate. For example, you might want to set up a trust for the benefit of your children from your first marriage, but you might want to leave the assets that are not in the trust to your spouse, whom you married late in life. What is right for your family might be different from what is right for someone else, but you should think through all the consequences of your estate plan, and that involves consulting a Florida estate planning lawyer.
The Difference Between Wills and Trusts
A will is a document specifying the author’s wishes about how to distribute the author’s property. During probate, the personal representative of the estate administers the will; in other words, he or she follows the instructions in the will. Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries listed in the will is only the last part of the probate process, though. Before that can happen, the personal representative must publish announcements inviting people who want to claim money from the estate, such as creditors or family members who claim that the decedent only disinherited them because someone else manipulated them into doing so, can do so. By the time the estate has paid off the decedent’s outstanding debts, the value of the estate is sometimes greatly diminished, and the beneficiaries inherit a lot less than the decedent would have wanted.
Assets that have been placed in a trust do not go through probate. This is because the assets in the trust legally belong to the trust, not to the person who created the trust; therefore, it is not technically part of the estate.
What Is a Pour-Over Will?
A pour-over will is a will that states that you are leaving all your assets to your trust, which you have already set up. In most cases, most of your assets are already in the trust. If all your assets are in the trust, the pour-over will is just a back-up plan. If only some of your assets are in the trust, then the non-trust assets go through probate, meaning that creditors can claim them, and your estate might need to pay debts with them. With a pour-over will, whatever non-trust assets are left at the end of probate go to your trust.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
It is a good idea to write a pour-over will if you want to leave all your assets to a trust, but it is no substitute for placing your assets in the trust sooner rather than later. Contact Clearwater estate planning lawyer William Rambaum for a consultation.