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What Is a Pour-Over Will and Do I Need One in Illinois?

 Posted on July 02, 2020 in Estate Planning Blog

Wheaton family law attorney estate planning

Many of our clients would like the benefits of using a trust but want to retain control over their property while living. For them, a pour-over will might be exactly what they need to accomplish their estate planning goals.

This type of will transfers all remaining assets to a living trust when the testator, or creator of the will, dies. In other words, the will does not identify who will be the beneficiary of each asset. Instead, that information is contained in the trust, and assets are “poured” into the trust when the testator passes away. The successor trustee collects property and then distributes it according to the trust document.

If you would like to discuss whether this type of will is right for you, contact a DuPage County estate planning attorney for more information.

Why Would You Need a Pour-Over Will?

Not every client benefits from a pour-over will. However, we have found that some of our clients like to retain control of their assets while living, so they keep them out of the living trust. Using the pour-over will is a convenient way to move assets into the trust upon death.

The will accomplishes this by, in effect, naming the living trust as the beneficiary of whatever assets the testator wants to pour-over. Some pour-over wills move all estate assets to the trust, while others will only pour-over some of the assets.

For example, Jonathan might want to keep his home and vehicle in his name while living, so he does not transfer them to the living trust. But, he wants the trustee to administer his estate, so he drafts a pour-over will and creates a living trust to receive estate assets.

Can You Avoid Probate with a Pour-Over Will?

Probate cannot be avoided simply by using a pour-over will. Of course, Illinois does not require that all estates be probated. In particular, an executor can use a small estate affidavit if there is no real estate and the total value of the estate does not exceed $100,000. In this type of situation, the estate can be administered much more swiftly.

Trusts do not have to go through probate because the trust owns the assets, not the deceased individual. Some people will move major assets into a living trust and simply use the pour-over will to move minor assets. In this way, the will can avoid probate because there are not enough assets in the estate to put the will over the $100,000 threshold. Drafting estate documents this way can streamline the probate process for many of our clients, saving their families time and money.

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

A. Traub & Associates is committed to crafting estate plans that work for our individual clients. There is no single approach that works for everyone. Please contact one of our dedicated Lombard, IL estate planning lawyers to review your situation in an initial consultation. We can help you identify which estate planning tools work best and then draft them for you. Call us today at 630-426-0196.



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