What is a pour-over will?

A pour-over will is a will that’s made in conjunction with a living revocable trust. A pour-over will is not a stand-alone document but works together with a living revocable trust to effectuate the decedent’s wishes. In Florida, a pour-over will transfers a person’s property and assets that are subject to probate into the decedent’s trust when he or she dies. The name for this process is “funding.” The property that is transferred into the trust is then distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust.

The purpose of a pour-over will in Florida is to make sure that the goals of the will and the trust remain aligned. The will ensures that the personal representative places into the trust any property that is not already in the trust. In a pour-over will situation, the personal representative’s main duty is simply to transfer the property from the estate into the trust. Thus, a single document, the trust, controls all the property so duplicate distributions (made on the basis of both the will and the trust) are not made. The trust document will then instruct the trustee how to handle trust assets.

A disadvantage of using a pour-over will is that the property that is included in the will must still go through probate. Probate can be time-consuming and expensive. It can take months before the court allows the transfer of property into the trust. In addition, property that passes through probate becomes part of a public record

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