A will is a significant part of a person’s estate plan. It is a legal document that outlines your wishes and dictates how you want your assets distributed after your death. However, a will is only one piece of a larger estate plan that can help you protect your assets and distribute them to beneficiaries as you see fit. There are numerous advantages of drafting a pour-over will in combination with a living trust.
At Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC, our Michigan probate attorneys want you to know the benefits of having a pour-over will and a living trust in your estate plan.
What Is a Living Trust?
A living trust is an estate planning tool that helps you manage your assets and property while you’re alive and distribute them to your chosen beneficiaries after your passing. When you transfer assets to a living trust, you transfer ownership of those assets to the trust. A trustee controls the trust’s assets.
You can be a trustee of your own living trust, and you’ll need to appoint a successor trustee to take over after you die. You can use and control the trust’s assets during your lifetime, and when you pass, the successor trustee distributes the assets to your named beneficiaries.
One of the primary benefits of transferring assets to a trust is that those assets can be distributed to your named beneficiaries without having to move through probate, which is a time-consuming and complicated legal process that occurs after a person’s death. There are additional benefits to placing assets in a living trust. Some types of trust protect assets from creditors. Adding property and assets to a trust may also have beneficial tax implications.
Living trusts are either revocable or irrevocable. The type you choose to meet your needs depends on your assets and financial situation. An experienced probate attorney can evaluate your situation and help you choose the trust option that addresses your ultimate goals.
Pairing a Trust with a Pour-Over Will
You don’t stop accumulating assets just because you created a will. Life marches on, and you with it. That’s why you should consider pairing a living trust with a pour-over will.
Once you’ve created a trust, it can be easy to forget to add new assets as you acquire them. Or you may not have time to make changes to your living trust. That’s where a pour-over will can help. A pour-over will is a sort of “catch-all” legal document that directs all your non-trust assets to be transferred to your trust upon your death.
A pour-over will can ensure that crucial assets and property get distributed to your loved ones according to your final wishes. However, it is vital that you seek the advice of an experienced Michigan probate attorney when drafting these legal documents. Your will should not include property that has already been transferred to a living trust.
An attorney can review your estate planning needs and help you identify beneficiaries and designate a trustee and executor. They can also help you determine which trust structure meets your needs and how a pour-over will can complement your trust. To create a complete estate plan that covers all eventualities and gets your assets to those you want to have them after you’re gone.
Seek Advice from a Trusted Michigan Probate Attorney Today
The future of your family depends on the plans you make today. Now is not the time for a do-it-yourself estate planning solution. Contact a skilled Michigan probate lawyer to help create an estate plan that addresses your final wishes. Call us at (586) 776-1700 for a legal evaluation.