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Pour Over Wills & Living Trusts in Florida Estate Planning


Many people want to know their options regarding revocable living trusts in Florida estate planning, without realizing how a will works within the bigger picture of estate administration. Contrary to popular assumption, this type of trust does NOT replace your will for most practical purposes. Instead, the two structures work together to ease the probate process at your passing and ensure your financial affairs are managed according to your wishes.

A typical structure that enables you to meet many of goals is use of a pour over will with a revocable living trust, and a Dade City estate planning attorney can explain the details and benefits. However, you might want to learn a few basics on how this arrangement works.

Overview of the Will-Trust Structure: You may have multiple reasons for seeking to establish a trust, such as providing for younger beneficiaries, protecting certain individuals from irresponsible spending, and tax planning. When you execute a living trust, one of the first tasks is to transfer assets into it; you want the trust to own them, not you.

Over time, as you acquire new assets, you may neglect to add them to the trust in the proper name. Without any other designation, there are no instructions on distributing this property. A pour over will is the solution, as sort of a safety net. The will language states that all assets that have not already been titled in the name of the trust should be transferred to it. Your property “pours over” from your estate into the trust upon your death.

 Benefits in the Probate Process: Besides acting as a tool for transferring assets to your trust, a pour over will can also streamline the probate process. If you’ve been diligent over time in titling your property in the name of the trust, the value of your probate estate will be lower. As such, you can take advantage of summary administration under Florida law, which is available for estates valued at less than $75,000. Your executor will need to provide notice to creditors and pay qualifying claims, which must be paid out of estate assets before distribution to beneficiaries. However, the probate process can wrap up in less time – and with less in fees and costs. 

Best Practices for Your Pour Over Will and Trust: For the will-trust structure to function effectively and efficiently, you should review your circumstances annually. Make sure to adjust title and/or ownership documents on any real estate and personal property, so that the trust is the owner of record. Because you can make changes to a revocable living trust, go over the distributions to beneficiaries to ensure they still align with your intentions. 

Discuss Pour Over Wills and Living Trusts with a Florida Estate Planning Attorney 

From the above description, you can see the advantages of a pour over will and living trust as part of your estate plan. Still, there are additional details you need to understand specific requirements for execution for this arrangement. For more information about these and other estate planning options, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can set up a consultation by contacting our Dade City, FL location at 352-567-0055 or visiting us online.


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