Some people set up trusts to keep assets from going through probate. However, individuals with complex estates might neglect placing one or more assets into a trust before they pass away. To prevent this from happening, some Illinois residents compose pour-over wills to account for assets missed by their trusts. However, this does not mean assets governed by a pour-over will shall avoid probate.
FindLaw explains that pour-over wills work by taking assets owned by a testator and pouring them over into a trust after the testator dies. People use pour-over wills to make sure any assets they wanted in the trust but failed to include will make it into the trust. Some people set a pour-over will in place so that they do not have to worry about adding assets to a trust multiple times.
However, a pour-over will does not avoid probate. A pour-over will is just like other kinds of wills. Before a pour-over will can place assets into a trust, the will must proceed through a probate court. So while assets already in the trust may go to beneficiaries immediately upon the death of the testator, assets slated to go into the trust via a pour-over will must wait for the probate process to complete.
Sometimes probate does not last long, so going through probate is a minor inconvenience to beneficiaries. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Beneficiaries or possible beneficiaries may litigate a pour-over will like any other will. Creditors might also get involved. Depending on the case, months may pass before the pour-over will goes into effect.
Because of the risks involved with leaving assets to a pour-over will, it may be beneficial to pay special attention to assets you want your trust to distribute shortly after you pass away. A pour-over will can be useful for lower priority assets and by providing a layer of security that accounts for all assets you want in your trust.
This article is only written for educational purposes and is not a substitute for the legal advice provided by an attorney.