Pour Over Will

When you arrange to leave your estate to your heirs or other beneficiaries, you want to make sure those assets are preserved, and your wishes are carried out properly.

For people utilizing trusts for estate planning, a pour over will can provide a safety net that ensures the distribution of assets according to your wishes. For guidance on pour-over wills, please don’t hesitate to contact Bassett Murray Law Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at (734) 930-9200.

What is a Pour-Over Will?

A pour-over will is a provision stipulating that assets transfer automatically to a trust upon the decedent’s death.

To clarify, a pour-over will is not a separate document. Instead, a traditional will may have a “pour-over” provision, specifying that assets “pour over” into the trust.

Requirements of a Pour-Over Will

For a pour-over provision in a will to be valid, the trust must be created before the will goes into effect. However, it does not necessarily have to be funded at the time of creation.

It is important to note that if the trust has not been established before the decedent’s death, then the pour-over provision is invalid because there is no existing trust in which the assets can “pour over.” In this case, the assets will be distributed according to other valid provisions in the will or to the decedent’s heirs.

Therefore, if you already have trusts as part of your estate plan, including a pour-over provision in your will is generally recommended.

Benefits of a Pour-Over Will

Rather than being a primary tool for transferring property, a pour-over will is more of a safety net to ensure that none of the decedent’s property not already allocated to a trust gets left out inadvertently.

As a result, a pour-over will ensures assets land in the trust, including overlooked assets or assets you acquired after creating the will.

Benefits of a pour-over will include:

  • Avoid having assets at the mercy of Michigan’s intestate succession laws since all assets have an allocation plan
  • Enjoy other benefits of having a trust, including delayed distribution and provisions on how assets are managed
  • Protect privacy by avoiding the contents of the pour-over will provision is a matter of public record, which happens when a will goes through probate
  • Potentially simplify estate planning by funneling all of the assets into a single trust instrument
  • Potentially take advantage of tax breaks

Pour-Over Wills and Probate

You do not avoid probate with pour-over wills as they still go through probate, and the trust cannot be dissolved during the probate process. While the assets that pour over into the trust are subject to the probate process, the assets already allocated to a trust before your passing do not go through probate.

Though every situation is different, it is often recommended to transfer property to the trust before passing.

Work with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Proper estate planning helps ensure your wishes are carried out as intended when you pass. To schedule a consultation, contact Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC, in Ann Arbor, at (734) 930-9200, or request a consultation online.  


Get to know us better by scheduling an initial consultation where we can discuss your needs.

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942

Petoskey Office
By Appointment only
3319 Lakeside Dr S
Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: 231-427-2292

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942