Understanding the Benefits of a Pour-Over Will in Michigan

estate planning probate wills Jan 22, 2024

This article written by attorney Nicole Wipp at the Family & Aging Law Center is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. For advice specific to your situation, contact us today at (248)278-1511.

If you're like most people, the idea of estate planning might seem overwhelming or even stressful. However, preparing a will and a living trust can offer peace of mind and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. In this blog post, we will discuss what pour-over wills are, how they work with a living trust, and why having both documents in place is essential.

Estate planning is vital for everyone, no matter their age or wealth. Pour-over wills and living trusts can create a comprehensive estate plan to alleviate stress, save money, and ensure that assets are passed on according to your wishes.

The combination of these two documents is a powerful estate planning tool that every Michigan resident over 50 should consider.

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What Is A Pour-Over Will With A Living Trust?

.A pour-over will is a legal document that is designed to work hand-in-hand with a living trust. A pour-over will ensures that any assets not included in the living trust are transferred into the trust upon your passing. Think of this type of will as a safety net that catches any overlooked assets and directs them to flow into the living trust.

So, if you accidentally overlooked a bank account or stock portfolio in your trust, the pour-over will catches and transfers ownership into the trust, making it a part of the trust assets. Like any will, it also outlines your wishes regarding your assets and distribution upon your passing.

Even though you have a living trust, a pour-over will is necessary to catch any non-trust assets that may slip through the cracks.

Why Do I Need A Pour-Over Will If I Have A Living Trust?

A pour-over will works in conjunction with the living trust. The will catches any assets that are not specifically included in the trust, and transfers them to the assets that are securely included.

With this system, everything will always remain in completeness.

While it may be tempting to consider a pour-over will and the living trust as separate entities, it's essential to understand why both are necessary. In a holistic view, pour-over wills and living trusts work together to create a complete estate plan.

A pour-over will helps to capture assets that weren't funded to your trust and distribute them according to your wishes.

How A Pour-Over Will Works With A Living Trust In Michigan

Having a pour-over will and a living trust can also significantly reduce the probability of disputes between family members after you pass away.

The trust can help avoid probate court, which can be costly and stressful for those involved. By having a pour-over will in place, any assets not included in the trust will be transferred smoothly, preventing conflicts that could arise from not having it in place.

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Why Do You Need A Living Trust?

A living trust is a legal document outlining what happens to all your assets upon passing. It is a powerful tool for managing and protecting your assets during your lifetime and ensuring they are distributed according to your wishes upon your death.

A living trust has many benefits over a traditional will, including avoiding probate court, minimizing tax burdens, and ensuring privacy, among others.

Do Assets In A Pour-Over Will Avoid Probate?

The best way to avoid probate is through a trust. Assets that aren't held by your trust are much more susceptible to going through probate. A pourover will does not help you completely avoid the time and expense of the probate process, but it will significantly reduce it.

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Can A Pour-Over Will Be Contested?

It is possible for a pour-over will to be contested just like any other will. However, having a trust in place can make it more difficult for someone to contest the will, as the trust lays out your wishes in greater detail. If you are concerned about the possibility of someone contesting your will, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney for guidance.

What Are The Benefits?

Even if you have a trust in place, it's still possible to have assets that are not included in your trust. For instance, if you forgot to fund your trust or acquired new assets after creating a trust.

In some cases, there can be confusion about the types of assets that should go into a trust. A pour-over will ensures that any overlooked assets are transferred to your trust.

Additionally, the pour-over will acts as a backup plan in case something goes wrong with your trust. For example, if one of your beneficiaries passes away before you do, a pour-over will ensures that their share of the assets is distributed according to your wishes.

Another benefit of pour-over wills is that they can help simplify the estate planning process. By directing all of your assets into one trust, you can simplify the distribution of your assets after your death. Your trustee will be responsible for managing and distributing your assets according to your wishes, which can help make the process smoother for your loved ones.

Pour Over Wills Are One Component Of A Comprehensive Estate Plan

It's important to note that pour-over wills are not the only estate planning tool you should consider. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may also want to consider other options such as powers of attorney, living wills, or irrevocable trusts.

Finally, it's important to keep your estate plan up-to-date over time. As your life circumstances change, your estate planning needs may also change.

If you have a pour-over will or a trust in place, reviewing it regularly to ensure that it still meets your needs and wishes is important. An estate planning attorney can help you make any necessary updates and ensure that your plan continues to protect your assets and your loved ones.

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What Do YOU Need To Avoid The Probate Process?

A pour-over will can be a useful tool for protecting your assets and simplifying the estate planning process in Michigan. By directing all of your assets into a trust, you can help ensure they are properly managed and distributed according to your wishes.

However, it's important to remember that pour-over wills may not completely eliminate the need for probate, and they may not be the best option for everyone.

If you're considering a pour-over will or other estate planning options, it's important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you make the best decisions for your particular needs and situation.

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