Have you ever considered what will happen to your assets after you pass on? If you have a will, you have already taken a step towards ensuring your intentions are carried out. But what if there are assets that you forgot to include in that will? Fortunately, there are estate planning documents you can use to put these worries to rest. Pour-over wills are a simple way to protect your estate and provide for the distribution of all your assets upon your death.
If you do not have a will or are unsure if your will is complete, contact a trust and wills attorney with Montagna Law in Virginia Beach to discuss your options. We can help create a pour-over will to oversee that your wishes are carried out how you see fit.
If you are a Virginia Beach resident, you should consider adding a pour-over will to your estate planning documents for a number of reasons. Wills are essential for all residents as they make your wishes known to your family and loved ones. Virginia law provides explicit guidance in the execution of all wills, and this will be essential for your executor to follow in the days following your death. However, a pour-over can make these tasks easier for everyone involved.
This particular type of will serves side-by-side with an irrevocable living trust. It is an estate planning tactic for designating a single beneficiary — the irrevocable trust. That way, any asset you did not include in the trust will eventually pour over into the trust upon your death.
More specifically, a pour-over will can:
All wills have common goals, that is, to make your wishes known and to guide a chosen individual as to how to distribute assets upon your death. Yet, there are specific differences between a pour-over will and a last will and testament.
A pour-over will is a certain type of will that is used to cover any assets that were not incorporated into a trust. It pours any unlisted assets over into the trust for distribution in accordance with what is instructed there.
A last will and testament, however, specifically dictates who receives your listed assets upon your death. This particular will includes instructions for the distribution of assets and possessions while also serving as a tool for handling guardian arrangements for dependents and more.
Without one of these or a combination of a trust and pour-over will, you will be considered to die intestate, and the Virginia court system will determine the distribution of your assets.
A pour-over will and a trust are both crucial estate planning tools for your benefit. However, creating a pour-over will requires you to set up a trust first.
A trust allows you to move all your assets under one owner or document. It ultimately allows the giving of assets and personal property to your beneficiaries upon your death. Your trust is a device to help streamline asset division among those heirs and allow a faster closing of your estate.
A trust can be a revocable or an irrevocable one upon creation.
An irrevocable trust specifically is one in which you transfer the ownership of assets and is a legal way to remove ownership rights from falling under your name specifically. An important advantage of this type of trust is that it can offer estate tax benefits.
In contrast, a revocable living trust may be canceled or altered at your choosing. However, at the time of your death, a revocable trust will most often convert to an irrevocable trust, meaning it can no longer be changed or set aside, and your successor trustee will go about distributing the included assets per your instructions.
To fully understand the differences between a revocable and irrevocable trust and determine which is right for you, consult an experienced Virginia Beach estate planning attorney before making a final decision.
Following a loved one’s death, you may be designated as a successor trustee or executor of the deceased’s estate. While this may not surprise you at the time of their death, you may be feeling overwhelmed or confused about what your role is going forward concerning a pour-over will.
Like other types of wills, a pour-over will must include an executor’s name. This executor has the task of taking all assets that fall under the will and transferring them into the trust. If you are not also the successor trustee of the trust, this is the end of your responsibilities. However, in many instances, the executor is also named as the new trustee.
As trustee, you will now take over control of the assets in the trust. First, you will confirm they are all included in the trust, then distribute them to the designated beneficiaries. You will also be responsible for any necessary tax filings.
To help guide you through this process and adhere to the wishes of the deceased, let the knowledgeable Virginia Beach attorneys with Montagna Law help. We can provide legal advice and guide you as you navigate the process and meet all requirements as outlined by Virginia law.
There are several reasons or advantages to using a pour-over will, including the following.
A pour-over will can simplify the process of meeting the needs of your estate upon your death. By incorporating everything in your trust, the pour-over will aids in transferring any assets unintentionally left out. The distribution of all assets will fall under the trust’s guidelines. This will limit the involvement of the probate courts and lead to a quicker closing of your estate.
Wills are not considered to be private estate planning documents. Assets distributed by wills are public records. Trusts, however, are private. Only those you choose to receive assets from your estate will know what is in the trust and how distribution is conducted.
While you may believe you are thorough in your estate planning efforts, there is always the possibility that something is forgotten and left out. A pour-over will can take care of that, making your trust more complete upon your death. It will also cover any newly acquired property or assets that were not added to the trust before the decedent’s passing.
The experienced attorneys with Montagna Law highly recommend using a pour-over will in your estate planning. The biggest reason for this is because it helps to avoid the need to undergo the time-consuming probate process. Instead, beneficiaries can receive assets quicker, and the estate itself can be completed and closed in less time.
Also, the privacy a combination of trust and pour-over will provides can keep the asset distribution amongst family members or other trusted beneficiaries. It also keeps this information away from prying eyes of those with no need to know how you chose to distribute your assets.
In addition, pour-over wills serve as a safety net to capture any assets that are not transferred to or included in a person’s revocable trust document. It is all too common that clients we work with forget or overlook various items or parts of their estate when it comes to creating a trust. Due to this, our attorneys will guide you through the process of what to include in your trust and also create a backup document, the pour-over will, to help protect you and your loved ones.
To create a pour-over will, you must first set up your trust and make it the sole beneficiary of the will. You will also need to make designations as to who will serve as trustee and executor. More specifically, you will need to take the following steps.
Creating a trust starts with determining your estate’s size and complexity. From there, you will need to find the type of trust that will work best, identify all the assets to transfer into the trust, and name beneficiaries for each asset.
As you set up your trust, you will want to consider who will make a dependable trustee. This trustee will manage all trust assets after you die and distribute them according to your wishes, as outlined in the document.
With the trust established, it is now time to create your pour-over will to protect any assets that, for one reason or another, were not included in the trust at the time of your death. Within this document, you will make the trust the only beneficiary.
Within the will, you must also name an executor. This executor will be responsible for following the will’s directions, including transferring any non-included assets to the trust. This executor may or may not be the same as your designated trustee.
A pour-over will is invaluable as a protective measure for your estate and assets. Yet, you may wonder how much such an estate planning document will cost Virginia Beach residents.
Since a pour-over will is created after a living trust is set up, most expenses will be for the trust itself. For this, the specific costs involved will depend on your assets.
Estate plans are unique to each individual, as are the costs involved. Some factors affecting the cost of an estate plan in Virginia include the following.
To discover more of what to expect when it comes to the costs involved with your estate planning, contact our Virginia Beach law office and schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated estate planning attorneys.
No, a will does not need to be notarized in Virginia. However, Virginia state law requires that a will have the signatures of two competent witnesses, and these witnesses must sign in front of you. Still, while notarization is not required by law, an estate planning lawyer may prefer to do so as a beneficial measure on your behalf.
In Virginia, you are allowed to make a self-proving will. A self-proving will helps to speed up the probate process, as the court can more readily accept it without contacting the two witnesses whose signatures are included. You and your two witnesses must sign in front of a notary to make this self-proving will.
Considering all your options under estate planning is the first step to creating peace of mind that your wishes will be met and beneficiaries will not suffer time-consuming delays or high expenses. Let the experienced Virginia Beach trust and wills attorneys with the Montagna Law law firm help you find the right fit for your estate planning needs by scheduling a consultation today. We can also help with other essential needs, such as a durable power of attorney, advanced medical directives, real estate transfers, special needs trusts, and guardianships. Contact us at 757-622-8100 or use our online contact form to get started.
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.