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New Jersey Employment Lawyers > Blog > Estate Planning > What is a Pour-Over Will?

What is a Pour-Over Will?


Every adult should have a well-constructed estate plan. As a starting point, your estate plan should generally include a last will and testament. If you set up a living trust, you may want to include a “pour-over” provision within your will. At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, we provide solutions-driven estate planning representation to people and families. In this article, our New Jersey & New York estate planning attorney explains the key things to know about pour-over wills.

What is a Pour-Over Will?

A pour-over will is a specialized type of will used in estate planning. Legal Information Institute defines a pour-over will simply as a type of will that contains a provision to assign “any residual estate assets into a living trust to be overseen by a trustee upon the testator’s death.

In other words, rather than distributing assets directly to beneficiaries—as a traditional will typically does—a pour-over will instead transfer those assets to a trust that has been established. A trust—often but not always a revocable living trust—becomes the beneficiary.

Why is a Pour-Over Will Used? 

Is a pour-over will or pour-over will provision the right option for your estate plan? The answer depends on a number of different situation-specific factors. With that being said, many people in New Jersey and New York do opt for pour-over wills. There are several reasons why a pour-over provision in a will can be advantageous. One key benefit is the simplification of the estate planning process. By ensuring all assets are eventually managed through a single trust, the pour-over will help to minimize the complexity and reduce the risk of conflict. Beyond that, a pour-over will is also used to capture any assets acquired late in life or inadvertently left out of the trust, ensuring that all property is handled according to the trust’s terms.

A Pour-Over Will is Simple, But Must Be Used in Conjunction With a Well-Prepared Trust 

By itself, a pour-over will is a relatively straightforward estate planning document. It assigns assets to the benefit of a trust. Of course, a pour-over will only effectively achieve estate planning goals if it is properly paired with a well-prepared trust. Without the trust, the pour-over Will serves no practical purpose as there would be no entity to receive the assets. Beyond that, even with a trust in place, it is crucial that the trust is detailed and carefully structured to handle the incoming assets. While the Pour-Over Will itself is straightforward, the success of what it aims to accomplish heavily depends on the quality of the accompanying trust. An estate planning lawyer can help you and your family put the right structure in place.

 Get Help From Our New Jersey & New York Estate Planning Lawyer Today

At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, we help people and families find peace, stability, and protection through proactive estate planning. If you have any questions or concerns about pour-over wills, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a confidential consultation. Our firm provides solutions-first estate planning representation in New Jersey and New York.

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