As we have discussed on our blog in the past, there are plenty of tools available to Texans working on finding an estate planning strategy that works for them. Different kinds of trusts, wills, and gifts allow decedents to make sure their assets are protected in a way that benefits them and their loved ones. Today, we discuss the pour-over will as one possible tool to use in your estate planning process.
Pour-Over Will, Defined
In Texas, a pour-over will is a type of estate planning document that specifically stipulates that any assets not included in a decedent’s trust should be automatically transferred to the trust when he or she dies. Essentially, if a decedent has elected to organize his or her assets in the form of a trust, and if some assets slip through the cracks during the planning process, the pour-over will ensure that these assets will go directly into the individual’s trust upon death.
Benefits of the Pour-Over Will
A pour-over will represents a clear way to make sure all of your assets are covered in your estate plans. The pour-over will can also give you peace of mind, knowing that even if you fail to include any assets in your trust, you and your heirs are covered. Particularly if and when you have a complicated estate, this peace of mind can be invaluable.
Shortcomings of the Pour-Over Will
As always, there are possible complications with the pour-over will. Most importantly, if you structure your estate plan to include both a trust and a pour-over will, the pour-over will must go through the typical probate channels after your death. While a trust is generally exempt from probate, the assets in the pour-over will are not, and probate can require time and resources that most individuals would rather not spend.
Additionally, creditors and debtors can access assets in a pour-over will that they cannot access when those same assets are in a trust. This makes the assets captured by a pour-over will inherently more vulnerable than those tied up in a trust.
Whether or not a pour-over will works for you depends entirely on your individual estate and financial circumstances. If you have questions about whether this tool might be beneficial for you, speak with a Texas estate planning attorney who knows the law, has the time to learn about your situation, and is well-positioned to offer advice based on your personal goals for the future.
Do You Need a Texas Estate Planning Attorney?
At McCulloch & Miller, we are proud to serve clients from all walks of life in their estate planning journeys. Our specialty is creating an estate plan that works for each individual and his or her circumstances. If you are in need of an attorney in the Houston area, give our office a call today at 713-955-7281. You can also fill out our online form to have an attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible to discuss your estate planning needs.