I have been reading about estate planning on-line. It seems like there are different types of Wills. Confusing! What Will do I need if I have a Trust?
– Worried Will-maker on Wolfe Rd.
Dear Worried Will-maker on Wolfe Rd.:
You are right…there are at least two types of Wills. There is a “Pour-Over Will” and a “Last Will and Testament.”
A Pour-Over Will is completed if also you have a Trust. The Pour-Over Will is a companion to the Trust (think “cake and ice cream” or “peanut butter and jelly”). The Trust is the document which controls how your assets are distributed. However, the Pour-Over Will is an essential “clean up,” companion document to the Trust.
As you know, life isn’t perfect. Sometimes people accidentally leave assets outside of their trust and/or without a beneficiary. When this happens, the Pour-Over Will is a safety net – it tells the judge to “pour” all of those wayward assets left out of the Trust back into the Trust (where they should have been placed to begin with). It is an essential feedback loop and bridge back to the Trust. Without it, assets would get stuck in a legal no man’s land. Not ideal!
The “Last Will and Testament” is used when there is no Trust. Here, the Will is a stand-alone document that goes through the probate court. It is the head honcho. A Last Will and Testament is what you see fabled in the movies (“I Will all of my jewels to Oliver the cat…Kids get $1.00”).
In this video I talk about “Are All Wills The Same?“.