If you have decided to establish a trust for your family, you could place many kinds of property into the trust. However, it is possible you might overlook one or more of your assets and fail to assign them to your trust before your death.
Fortunately, writing a pour-over will gives you a way to address the fate of any assets you forget to put into a trust.
How a pour-over will works
A pour-over will is not the same as a traditional will. It is a simple document stating that any assets that you have not placed in your trust after your death shall go into your trust.
To distribute your remaining assets, you must first set up your trust. When your pour-over will goes into effect, it will “pour over” your residual assets into your trust.
The problems of intestacy
Without a pour-over will, your leftover assets will not go into your trust. Still, your ordinary will might cover your remaining property if your will addresses what to do with it.
In the event you do not leave any estate planning document to cover your leftover assets, state intestacy laws will guide their distribution. This means a court could pass your assets to one or more individuals that you did not intend to inherit from you.
Adding a guardian
A pour-over will has another benefit. You may use it to name a guardian if your children are not yet legal adults after you die. Since a trust cannot designate a guardian, this is one more estate planning gap you could account for.
The simplicity of a pour-over will makes it an estate planning tool worth considering if you want to cover all your bases.