The Pour Over Will as a Safety Net
A revocable living Trust can only control the assets that have been transferred into it during your life and after your death. You fund the Trust during your life by changing titles and beneficiary designations to your trust. It is a simple concept, yet it is what keeps you and your family from having to go through the arduous process of probate after your incapacity and/or death; it also allows you keep more control over the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries. Lastly, the funding of your trust can help avoid some estate taxes. The avoidance of estate taxes is a more complicated topic, and better left for a separate blog.
The truth of the matter is while you may intend to put all your assets into your Trust, you may unintentionally leave an asset out of it. For example, you may forget to change a beneficiary of your 401k., forget to re-title an asset, or you could just plain forget an asset. This is when you heirs will be glad you created a Will with “pour over” provisions. The pour over provisions in your Will states that if a “overlooked” asset is discovered after you die, the asset will go into your trust. This does not help you avoid probate, but at least your pour over will catches the asset and sends it back (pours it over) into your living trust so it can be dispersed as part of your overall estate plan.