If your Michigan estate plan includes a living trust into which you have placed most if not all of your assets but you have not yet executed a pour-over will, you are missing a crucial piece of your estate plan. Without a pour-over will, your entire estate may not in fact be in your living trust at the time of your death, leaving a complicated situation for your heirs to deal with.
A pour-over will generally is relatively short, straightforward and easy for your estate planner to draft. Basically all it does is instruct your executor to place any estate assets you own when you die in your living trust.
The importance of your pour-over will, however, far outweighs its simplicity. This is your “umbrella” legal document that works for you both now and in the future. It is your failsafe method of ensuring that your wishes regarding your asset distribution will be fulfilled upon your death.
The moment you execute your pour-over will, you gain the following benefits:
- You no longer need worry that you might forget to place a new asset in your living trust.
- You no longer must constantly update your living trust to reflect your most current financial situation.
- Your mind is at peace because you have done everything needed to ensure that all of your assets ultimately will be part of your living trust no matter what happens between now and the date of your death.
- You have the satisfaction of knowing that you have preserved your financial privacy to the greatest extent possible.
Because your pour-over will instructs your executor to transfer whatever assets you own at the date of your death into your living trust, your estate’s probate process will be remarkably simple and quick. All your executor will need to do is collect what few assets are not already in your living trust, pay your outstanding bills, and ask the court to approve the pour-over of any remaining assets into your living trust.
Your heirs will have nothing to worry about and nothing to disagree or squabble about. Through the combination of your living trust and your pour-over will, you long ago determined exactly what would happen at your death and the way in which it would happen.
All you need to do right now to complete your estate plan is to execute a pour-over will, making sure it mentions your living trust, and revise your living trust, probably for the last time, to make sure it mentions your pour-over will. At that point, everything is in place to fulfill your financial wishes.