Making an estate plan can seem intimidating. How do you know which options will best protect your assets and ensure that everything goes to the right beneficiaries? A Fayetteville, Arkansas wills lawyer from our firm can help you work through your options and help you figure out which kind of setup works best for you and your family. One option that you might want to explore is a pour-over will.
Who Should Use a Pour-Over Will?
A pour-over will can be ideal for couples who have established a living trust, but have not placed all of their assets into it yet. This is because a pour-over will transfers any assets that have not already been placed in a trust into that trust once both you and your spouse have passed away.
Essentially, this type of will acts as a kind of safety net that ensures that all assets actually end up being in control of your trust. This trust has set rules about these assets and which beneficiaries will receive them. These assets would otherwise be unaccounted for and they would have to go through an extended probate process where a court would have to decide who they go to.
What Kind of Trust Do I Need to Establish With My Pour-Over Will?
A revocable trust or irrevocable trust can both work with a pour-over will. A revocable trust keeps you in control of your assets and allows you to change the rules of the trust later on if you wish. An irrevocable trust does not allow you to change anything, and your assets are instead put in the control of a trustee. This can be a more beneficial arrangement for someone or a couple who has a larger estate. An experienced attorney from our firm can tell you more about the potential upsides and downsides of each kind of trust.
Can My Spouse Still Use My Assets When I Pass Away?
Another advantage of a pour-over will is that your spouse can easily access your assets once you pass away. When one spouse dies, their assets pour into the trust. The remaining spouse can make use of any of those assets.
Is There Still a Probate Process With a Pour-Over Will?
We should also note that there can still be a probate process when you use a pour-over will. Those assets that were not in your trust will have to go through probate, but everything will be much simpler thanks to your will. Instead of following rules of intestate succession, which kick in when assets are not covered by an estate plan, where the assets go to can be governed by your trust. The probate process is simplified and there should, hopefully, be less fighting among family members.
Talk to Our Estate Planning Lawyers
When you are ready to make your estate plan, go to a professional. Contact the Knapp Law Firm and ask about scheduling a consultation. We can take a look at your estate and your assets, and then we can advise you on your best options.