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What is a Pour Over Will

Pour-Over Wills

A pour-over will in Florida transfers all of a person's property and assets, that are subject to probate, into the decedent's trust when he or she passes away.  The property transferred into the trust is then distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust by the trust's terms.

Advantages of a Pour Over Will

A pour over will has many benefits one of which being that the pour over will helps to utilize the revocable or irrevocable trusts that a person creates.  A Florida Living Trust is another why that permits a person's property to bypass the probate process when he or she dies. Trust administration can be quicker and is not court supervised. 

However, for a revocable trust to work the decedent must transfer his or her property into the trust.   The trust must be funded, and it must be funded correctly, or it will fail. If you have a will, property will avoid probate and pass to the trust by the terms of the will.  A pour over will in Florida helps to ensure that the objectives of the will and the trust remain in together. Once property passes to the trust a Trustee, who you pick, makes distributions as you instruct in the trust document.

This is why anyone using a trust for testamentary purposes should also use a Florida Pour Over Will.  This Will ensures that the personal representative will transfer any property, not already placed in the trust, into the trust.  This ensures only a single document controls your property, and also acts as a catchall in case, not every asset is accounted for in the trust.

The Pour-Over Will can ensure that your any assets included in your probate estate are directed to your Revocable Trusts. The Pour-Over Will can also provide for guardians for your minor children and act as a backup in case your trust is not valid, or not in existence at the time of your death.

Disadvantages of a Pour Over Will

The main disadvantage of a Florida Pour-Over Will is the biggest problem with most Wills, which is the property included in the Pour Over Will must go through probate.  This can be expensive and time consuming as well as become part of the public records. This situation may be avoided by naming a beneficiary of any property not already placed in the living trust.

EXAMPLE: John transfers his valuable property to his living trust. He also makes a pour-over will, which states that any property he owns at his death not specifically left to someone in the will goes to the living trust. When John dies, the property left through his will goes to the trust and is distributed to the residuary beneficiary of his living trust, his daughter Diane. The living trust must be kept going until probate of the will is finished, when property left by the will is poured over into the living trust.

If John had just named Diane as the residuary beneficiary of the will, the result would have been the same, but the process would have been simpler. The living trust would have been ended a few weeks after John's death. And after probate was finished, Diane would have received whatever property passed through John's will.

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John P. Rutkowski, Attorney at Law, is focused on all aspects of Wills, Trust, Probate, Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, Divorce & criminal law. Contact me today to schedule an initial consultation.