Understanding & Signing The
A Last Resort Backup Document That “Wills” Assets To Your Trust
The “Pour-Over Will” is simply an ordinary Will that says you leave everything to your trust. Its main purpose is to act as another backup device that allows your trust to gain control of any stray assets left outside of your trust. In other words if you happen to die with assets that are not titled in your trust and there is no other way to get to them, then the “Pour-Over Will” can be used as a final resort to gain legal control over the assets.
Your Goal Is For The Pour-Over Will To Never Be Needed Because It Potentially Means Probate — The Very Thing You Are Trying To Avoid
Problem is, any assets which must pass through a “Pour-Over Will” are subject to the probate process — the very thing you are trying to avoid with a trust. That is why you should never let the existence of a pour-over will be viewed as a substitute for titling your assets in your trust. It’s not. Your real goal is for the “Pour-Over Will” to never be needed or have any use whatsoever. Most of the time you can easily achieve that goal by titling your assets in the name of your trust but even then you still need a “Pour-Over Will” as a safeguard against some unforeseen circumstance.
A Pour-Over Will Is Needed Just In Case You Die The Moment You Win The Lottery
To illustrate, we bring up the classic example of someone who buys a lottery ticket, and is so excited to discover winning a million dollars that they instantly die of a heart attack without ever having a chance to title the winnings in the trust. In such a case, the “Pour-Over Will” could be brought into play as the only and last resort.
Small Estate Affidavits Are Generally More Hassle Than Ttitling The Asset In Your Living Trust
Even though the law allows the use of “Small Estate Affidavits” for “probate-able” assets totaling under certain amounts, we suggest that you never view that as an invitation to leave assets outside of your trust. While the “Small Estate” process may be easier than full probate, it is still usually more troublesome and expensive than if the asset is titled in your trust. For example, in California you must wait at least 40 days before you can use a Small Estate Affidavit. In contrast, there is no waiting period with a trust.
The Pour-Over Will Revokes All Previous Wills
Your pour-over will automatically revokes and invalidates any previous Wills, names your trust as the only beneficiary and nominates your currently named successor trustees as your executors. The rest of the document consists of standard Will clauses.
Sign, Date, & Fill In The City Where Signed
Please sign and date your “Pour-Over Will” and also be sure to fill in the city in which it was signed.
The Will Must Be Witnessed Not Notarized
Unlike your other documents, your “Pour-Over Will” should not be notarized. Again, do not notarize your “Pour-Over Will”. Rather it needs to be signed by two disinterested witnesses that are at least 18 years old. A disinterested witness is someone who will not benefit or inherit from your estate under any circumstances, directly or indirectly.
You Can Sign Your Will Before Having It Witnessed
In California and many states your witnesses do not need to see you sign your Will, you only need to state to them that you signed it.
Make sure that both witnesses sign where indicated and print their name and address below their signature.