Readers of this blog might be aware of the numerous estate planning tools they have at their disposal. Many Arizonans choose to utilize a living trust as part of their estate plan as it allows assets to bypass the probate process. One of these trusts can also give a testator a certain amount of control over those assets, thereby allowing him or her to dictate the terms associated with release of trust assets. Yet, in order for a living will to be effective it must be constantly updated. Those who fail to put all of their assets into this trust may wind up having those assets subject to a distribution that is not in accordance with their wishes.
This is why many individuals choose to create what is referred to as a pour-over will. This type of will specifies that all assets owned by the testator are to be transferred to a living trust upon his or her death. This is an effective and efficient way to manage one's estate because he or she doesn't have to constantly revisit the trust to ensure that it contains all of his or her assets. It can also help ensure privacy since the specifics of living trusts are kept from the public eye.
Where a living trust can forego the probate process, a pour-over will requires it. This is a major disadvantage to some people, but for others the process isn't as big of an issue because assets not contained in the living trust automatically and instantly transfer to the trust upon the testator's death. They may still have to go through probate, which can be somewhat cumbersome, but at least there is a sense of security in knowing exactly where those assets have ended up.
A pour-over will is just one option available to Arizonans who are engaging in estate planning. It may or may not be a viable option for everyone. The best way to figure out what type of estate planning strategy suits one's needs may be to sit down and discuss the matter with a knowledgeable legal professional.