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Lehighton Estate, Family & Workers’ Comp Lawyer > Blog > Estate Planning > How Pour Over Wills Work in Pennsylvania Estate Planning

How Pour Over Wills Work in Pennsylvania Estate Planning


Even when you know the basics about wills, you might not realize that there are different types that may serve your needs and support other estate planning goals. One option is a pour over will, which works in conjunction with a revocable living trust. Pennsylvania law on wills include provisions on who may create a will and the formalities for signing, but the statute does not offer guidance on the specific benefits of pour over wills.

There are many reasons you might want to consider creating a pour over will, with privacy, asset protection, and probate avoidance being top advantages. However, because this type of will is associated with a revocable living trust, it is essential to develop a strategy for your overall estate plan. You can learn details by consulting with a Lehighton wills and estate planning attorney, but an overview about pour over wills is also informative.

Basics of Pour Over Wills: This type of will operates the same as others, so you will name an executor to manage your estate upon death. However, the key with a pour over will is that there is only one beneficiary: Your revocable living trust. There is a provision included in the will directing that all assets held by the decedent as an individual should be poured over into the trust.

The purpose of a pour over will is to handle the loose ends, i.e., the assets that you did not have a chance to transfer into the name of your trust after acquiring them. They will not go through probate, though your estate will still need to pay creditors.

 Pour Over Wills in Action: To better understand how they work, you should review the steps from creating a pour over will to seeing it in effect.

  • You create a pour over will that distributes assets into a revocable living trust that you typically sign the same day.
  • You transfer your assets into the trust, keeping them separate from property you own as an individual in your name.
  • You continue to transfer assets into the trust as you acquire them, being as diligent as possible.
  • At your passing, any assets you own as an individual are poured over to the trust.

The provisions of the revocable living trust agreement dictate how assets are managed, trustee powers and duties, distributions to beneficiaries, and many other issues. Keep in mind that, if you already have a will and decide to create a trust, you can prepare a codicil to include pour over provisions.

 Discuss Options with a Pennsylvania Estate Planning Lawyer

A pour over will may not be the right fit for every estate plan, but this summary should help you realize the benefits. Still, you will need assistance creating a will and revocable living trust to avoid any mistakes that could frustrate your efforts. To learn more, please contact the Law Office of Kim M. Gillen, P.C. in Lehighton, PA. We can set up a consultation with an experienced wills attorney who will guide you in making informed decisions.



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