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Do you need a pour-over will?

You set up a trust years ago, and you’ve been putting assets such as your home in Massachusetts into it, updating it as needed. After all, you are determined that your beneficiaries get all of your assets with as few tax consequences as possible. However, what if the unthinkable happens before you have a chance to make the most recent updates?

FindLaw explains that a pour-over will ensures that your assets are transferred to your trust when you die, even if they are not mentioned in any other of your estate planning documents. Say for example that you recently purchased a valuable collection, and you die before you can adjust your will or transfer it to the trust. Without a pour-over will, the state would distribute that asset to your heirs based on intestacy laws. But a pour-over will specifically declares that any assets not mentioned in any other document should still be moved to the trust and distributed according to the directions of the trust.

You still need an executor to take care of matters, and the will still goes through probate. During this process, debts and taxes are paid from those assets not yet in the trust, so your beneficiaries cannot benefit from them until this is done. 

As with any other type of will, your document must meet all the requirements for wills in Massachusetts. You must be in your right mind and understand what you are doing when you create the will, you must sign it, and you must have the signatures of witnesses. To ensure that the pour-over will is executed as planned, you need to ensure that the documents all refer to each other and your wishes are clear.

This general information about pour-over wills does not address every circumstance, and all estate plans have unique aspects, so this should not be interpreted as legal advice.


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