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Explaining a Pour-Over Will & How It Works with Your Estate Plan

A Pour-Over What? Explaining a Pour-Over Will & How It Works with Your Estate Plan

When most folks think of pour-over, it’s not estate planning but trendy coffee shops and Chemex wood-neck coffee makers that come to mind. As good as pour-over coffee may be, however, it turns out there’s another type of pour-over that may make an even bigger positive impact on your life (which is saying something, because pour-over coffee is pretty good): a pour-over will.

A pour-over will may not be as popular as its caffeinated cousin, but its value is far greater. Good coffee is essential to protecting your productivity while good estate planning is essential to protecting your family. Both are valued but only one is vital. If you’re serious about planning for the future, here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Pour-Over Wills
Estate planning involves three principle aims: (1) ensuring your assets end up in the right hands after you pass, (2) looking out for your loved ones’ well-being, and (3) protecting your health and finances while you’re still alive. A pour-over will attends to all three but it’s the first two that are the principal aim of this estate planning tool.

A pour-over will is a specific type of will that is created in conjunction with a trust and which facilitates the transfer of your assets after you die. This is achieved by a provision included in the document that directs any assets left in your estate to be “poured over” into your trust. These assets are then distributed alongside all others according to the terms of your trust agreement and under the supervision of your previously designated trustee.

While that may sound complicated, the reality is actually quite simple.

When you establish and fund a trust, you complete a trust agreement that decides how the assets within that trust will be distributed when you die. Doing so gives you greater control over where your life’s work ends up and ensures your loved ones need not suffer the challenges (and cost) of navigating probate court when administering your estate. This is great but it only works if all the assets you aim to protect end up in your trust.

Assets may be left out of a trust for all kinds of reasons. You might simply forget to fund your trust, forget to update it, or overlook the fact that you acquired additional assets after the time your trust was created. When any of these things happen, the overlooked assets must pass through probate before they can be distributed to heirs, and this is a pain (to put it mildly).

A pour-over will allows those assets stuck in probate to flow easily into the trust without having to disclose who the actual beneficiaries of your estate are. You might think of it as a fallback or safety net which corrects a lapse in your planning.

To learn more about protecting your family and planning for the future by using a pour-over will or to get started on implementing this estate planning document today, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm either by calling 417-623-2062 or using the contact form on our website.


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