There are certain types of wills, or aspects of wills, that are not suited for every purpose. A “pour over” will is just such a document. These wills are only necessary for people who have a living trust already established. If you don’t have a living trust, or want more information about them and why they may be of benefit to you, talk to your estate planning attorney.
Function: The idea of a pour over will is to transfer all of your property into a trust that was created while you were alive. The trust, known as a living trust or an inter vivos trust, already contained some, if not all, of your property. In the event that some of your property is not transferred to the trust before you die, the pour over will does this for you as a catch-all.
Use: Like all wills, a pour over will must meet the creation requirements under state law. Unlike other wills, however, pour over wills usually only name a single beneficiary: the testator’s living trust. Because the living trust already controls much of the testator’s former property, the pour over will essentially takes the rest of it and transfers it to the trust as well. However, whatever is left after the testator dies must go through the probate process before the trust can own it. This differs from the property first placed in trust, as trusts do not need to be probated before they are effective.