Meinzer Law Firm, PC

The pour-over will can make estate planning simpler

Wills and trusts can be tailored to fit an individual's needs. This is the beauty of estate planning. Regardless of one's family makeup, resources, or desire for asset distribution, there is a legal strategy for them.

Some Californians may feel comfortable relying solely on a simple will, while others may find it beneficial to create a number of trusts in order to ensure that named beneficiaries are appropriately cared for. Trusts can also allow a testator to retain some control over assets by allowing for release of trust assets only after certain conditions are met. This is a major draw for some.

Although wills and trusts are often discussed separately, the two can actually work in conjunction with one another. For example, a pour-over will dictates that all assets held by an individual are transferred to identified trusts upon that individual's passing.

One of the biggest benefits of this type of will is that it allows an individual to effectively manage his or her estate without having to constantly revisit trusts to ensure that assets are properly placed into them. Instead, through a pour-over will, the transfer of assets to one or more trusts is automatic upon one's death.

There other benefits to a pour-over will, too. For example, since trusts are kept out of the public record, the contents of one's estate may be kept relatively private by utilizing a pour-over will. Also, even assets that are newly acquired or forgotten about and not included in a will are subjected to the pour-over will's provisions, thereby transferring them to the named trusts.

Although a pour-over will still has to go through probate, it can still provide significant advantages for Californians who are looking to effectively manage their estate plan. This is just one of the many options available to estate planners, though, which is why it is often in Californians' best interests to sit down with an estate planning legal professional to craft a legal strategy that best suits their needs and wishes for the future.

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