While most people have heard of a basic Last Will and Testament, they may not know what a Pour-Over Will is and how it works with a Special Needs Trust.
Essentially, a Pour-Over Will is used in conjunction with a Special Needs Trust and directs that any assets you hold solely in your name at the time of your death are to be transferred directly into a Special Needs Trust for the benefit of your child with disabilities.
Unlike a traditional Last Will and Testament, a Pour-Over Will does not need to include explicit instructions on how the estate assets will be distributed. Instead, it merely has to state that the assets should go directly into the Trust. This not only allows for a quick and smooth transfer but also provides your child with a greater degree of privacy.
Essentially, the Pour-Over Will acts as a safety net to make sure that all of your solely-owned assets will be distributed according to the terms of the Trust after you pass away.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the Pour-Over Will is subject to probate proceedings in general – just like a traditional Last Will and Testament. The length and complexity of the probate proceedings will depend on the amount of assets that were solely owned outside of the Special Needs Trust. The Trust will have to continue to exist for however long the estate is in probate, so any Trustees you name should understand that their responsibilities may extend for a longer amount of time than they may have anticipated.
If you have any questions about the difference between a Last Will and Testament and a Pour-Over Will, or if you’d like to review your existing estate plan to make sure your assets will be distributed according to your wishes after you pass away, please call (813) 438-8503 to set up an initial consultation.