What is a Pour Over Will in Wisconsin?

Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question: What is a Pour Over Will in Wisconsin?


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Welcome back, I'm Attorney Thomas Burton.


I'm an estate planning and asset protection attorney here in Wisconsin and today's topic is 'What Is A Pour Over Will?'


Now I see this question come up frequently at my office and you may have heard the term either reading in the estate planning literature or meeting with your attorney where they mention a Pour Over Will and many people have heard of a last will and testament or a will but they will ask me what is a Pour Over Will.


Well Pour Over Will is just a term of art, we lawyers use to describe a certain type of will used with a trust plan, generally, with a revocable living trust, we'll talk about having a pour over will alongside the trust. So if you form the trust here, we want all your assets to flow through the trust and avoid probate but the will is designed to be just in case something got forgotten over here, let's say this painting behind me, was super valuable and it got left out of my trust somehow. I inherited it after I formed my trust and I didn't assign it to the trust. That painting, the will would pour over into my trust or let's use another example, inherited real estate. You formed your trust 10 years ago and then shortly a little time ago, one of your relatives passed away who you didn't even know and they left you a one-fifth interest in a cabin. Now, you could immediately deed your interest in the cabin into your trust and avoid probate on that asset but let's say you fell sick and forgot to do this or what are unable to do this, well then the pour over will is a shorter will that says, any asset I own at death that is not already placed in my trust, I place it into my trust upon my death. So we design it as a backup plan to make sure every asset goes through the trust. I always tell my clients we don't want to use this pour over will because it would still require, in most cases, if the assets over $50,000 to go through a formal probate court process or an informal or formal probate court process but if there is an asset out there we still have the will saying what should happen to it and generally, the will, will be shorter and say, my trust will govern the disposition of my assets meaning whatever you laid out in the trust, who gets the assets, that's who you want to get it in the will. So we don't repeat all that information in the pour over will.


So today, as an illustration, I have a glass here and my badger water bottle and this is the idea, the pour over will would pour over those assets into the trust. So if you think of the glass as the trust, that we want to hold all the assets, that's what the pour over will is doing, is just pouring them over after death into the trust.


So really, when I think of a Pour Over Will, I think of a glass pouring into or a pitcher pouring into a glass which is the trust which then governs what happens to the assets. So that's where the word Pour Over got started, using it and lawyers have adopted it as a way to describe what the shorter will is designed to do alongside the trust.


Now again, it's not my goal when I work with clients to use the Pour Over Will because the whole point of setting up a trust plan is to avoid probate on the assets and save the time, money and expense of probate court after your death and make it easier administration for your heirs. However again, we have the will there, a shorter will alongside the trust and that is how the pour over will function.


So this is a term I see confusion about. I wanted to create a video today, going through the Pour Over Will, how it works because I know others have this question out there as well.


So if this video has been helpful to you, please consider giving it a LIKE, so that others can see, find and benefit from this information.

Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time.


© 2021 Burton Law LLC. All Rights Reserved. Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired. For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact the office.

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