A pour-over will is like any other will except that it has one beneficiary, a living trust. This type of will “pours” any property owned by the testator at death into a trust he or she set up before passing away. The assets will be subject to the distribution plan in the trust and will receive the benefit of the trust’s tax reduction provisions. Most estate planners today recommend this testamentary structure – a combination of a living trust and a pour-over will – with the primary objective being avoiding probate.

Pour Over Will by jurisdiction:

  • That the testator has capacity
  • That the will is in writing
  • That the will is signed by the testator
  • That the signing is witnessed

A pour-over will also typically provides that if the trust is partially or wholly invalid, assets should be distributed under the terms of the invalid trust. If the pour-over clause fails, the assets are distributed according to intestacy. It is important to consult an experienced attorney in the field of estate planning to effectively draft a pour-over will.

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