Drafting a Pour-Over Will in Texas
If you establish a living trust as part of your estate plan your loved ones can avoid the lengthy and costly process of probate court when your assets are distributed to them? Your trust will designate a successor trustee who steps into that role automatically and immediately upon your death (no attorney, no judge, no court is necessary for this to happen) and they can disburse your assets to your intended beneficiaries with minimal delay.
A pour-over will is a safety net. It is a legal document that transfers (or “pours”) assets into your trust at death if you have not transferred all of them to your trust during your lifetime. Living trusts and pour-over wills should be executed simultaneously.
Create a comprehensive estate plan with one of our experienced attorneys at Anderson Estate Planning in McKinney, Texas. Contact us at (469) 207-1529 for more information.
The Difference Between a Traditional Will and a Pour-Over Will
Many people mistakenly believe the executor named in a will assumes that position automatically upon the death of the testator (i.e., the person making the will). In most cases, a will must be filed with a probate court, and an executor is appointed by a judge after a hearing in court for that purpose. While all of this is happening the time between your death and your beneficiaries’ access to all your assets is prolonged.
If you have no will, a hearing is still required for a judge to appoint an executor but anyone who is an interested party can apply for that position—which frequently causes fights within the family—and all your assets will be distributed according to intestate succession laws in the jurisdiction where you die or where the property is located.
A pour-over will only goes through probate if you have failed to attach all your assets to your living trust. The probate process with a pour-over will is much shorter than probate with a traditional will.
The following steps are part of a comprehensive estate plan when utilizing a living trust:
- Decide who will be the beneficiaries of your trust.
- Determine who will be the trustee to distribute assets from the trust when you die
- Create and execute your living trust in the presence of a notary public.
- Fund your trust (this step also is referred to as “transferring assets” to the trust) and include the trust as a beneficiary on applicable assets. To accomplish this properly, your attorney should prepare:
- Deeds you will sign to transfer each piece of real property you own (in every state) to the trust.
- Letters to be delivered to all your financial institutions (including banks, retirement plan administrators, life insurance companies, annuity companies, and brokerage houses) with instructions regarding how each such entity should reposition assets and beneficiary designations with respect to your trust.
- Create and execute your pour-over will in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public.
It has been our experience that almost all attorneys fail to fund their clients’ trusts. At Anderson Estate Planning that’s part of what we do every day for our clients. We also draft pour-over wills for every client who uses a living trust as part of their comprehensive estate plan.
Benefits of a Pour-Over Will
Some benefits of a pour-over will include:
- A stress-free process: A pour-over will is a single document controlling all assets outside your living trust which shortens the probate process.
- An extra level of security: A pour-over will ensures assets you neglect to transfer during your lifetime, either by accident or for a specific purpose, end up in your trust.
- Privacy: With a will, assets going through probate become part of the court’s records, which are easily available to the public. Assets transferred to a trust don’t go through probate they are transferred to your beneficiaries privately by your successor trustee.
Contact Our Professional Estate Planning Attorneys in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Our attorneys at Anderson Estate Planning in McKinney, Texas have many years of experience creating trusts and pour-over wills to protect the assets and the futures of our clients’ loved ones.
Contact us at (469) 207-1529 to schedule your consultation with us today.