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What Is a Pour-Over Will?

Posted on in Estate Planning

cook-county-estate-planning-attorney.jpgIndividuals and families have many options during the estate planning process. Regardless of a person’s age, they can put plans in place that will help them manage their assets, provide for the needs of themselves and their loved ones, and ensure that their property will be distributed to their beneficiaries. While wills may be used to address how assets should be passed to heirs after a person’s death, trusts may also be used to manage assets during a person’s life and ensure that they are distributed correctly to their beneficiaries. In some cases, a person may wish to combine these tools through the use of a pour-over will.

Using a Will to Transfer Assets to a Trust

Trusts can provide a number of benefits, including allowing a person to maintain control over their assets, provide for their own needs, and make sure assets are used for specific purposes when distributed to beneficiaries before and after the person’s death. Ownership of assets may be transferred to a trust, and a trustee will be provided with instructions on when and how to distribute assets to different beneficiaries. 

With a revocable living trust, a person will often act as the trustee and maintain control over their assets during their lifetime. Irrevocable trusts may also be used in certain situations, such as when a person wants to make sure their assets will be protected from creditors. A trust will include detailed instructions for how assets should be distributed after a person’s death. However, there may be some situations where a person owned assets that were not included in a trust, and they may want to make sure these assets will be handled the same as other assets after they die.

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Evergreen Park Estate Planning LawyerIn many cases, the process of estate planning will be focused on how a person’s final affairs will be handled after their death. By creating a will or establishing different types of trusts, a person can make sure their wishes will be followed when the property they own is distributed to their heirs. However, an estate plan can also address a variety of issues that will affect a person prior to their death, including matters related to their medical care and finances. By establishing advance directives, a person can ensure that their wishes will be followed correctly throughout the rest of their life.

Advance Directives Addressing Medical Treatment and Other Issues

A person can make decisions in advance about the types of care they want to receive and how matters related to their property and finances will be handled. These directives will apply in situations where a person becomes incapacitated (such as when they are unconscious or in a coma) or experiences conditions that affect their ability to make decisions or communicate their wishes to others. Advance directives that may be created as part of a person’s estate plan include:

  • Powers of attorney - With this type of legal agreement, a person can name someone who is authorized to make decisions for them. There are two types of powers of attorney, with a power of attorney for property addressing issues related to a person’s income, assets, and finances, and a power of attorney for healthcare addressing medical treatment and other forms of personal care. Powers of attorney can be very flexible, and they may only apply in certain situations or to certain types of decisions. A person can also specify their wishes for how different issues should be handled if they ever become incapacitated or are unable to express their wishes to others.

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Chicago Estate Planning LawyerDuring the estate planning process, the first step that many people take is to create a will. This legal document will detail a person’s instructions for how their affairs should be handled after their death. A will can be very helpful, and in addition to addressing how a person’s property should be distributed to their family members or other heirs, it may also name a guardian for the person’s minor children, detail their desired funeral and burial arrangements, and cover other important issues. However, there are many cases where creating one or more trusts in addition to a will can offer benefits. By understanding the purposes of trusts and the advantages they provide, a family can determine the role that these instruments may play in a comprehensive estate plan.

What Are Trusts?

A trust is a legal agreement in which a person will place their assets in the control of a person known as a trustee, providing instructions for how these assets should be managed and how they should be distributed to different beneficiaries. The assets will be owned by the trust rather than the person who created the trust (known as the trust maker or grantor). Setting up this type of agreement can provide multiple benefits, including:

  • Flexibility - Different types of trusts may allow a person to continue managing their assets, or they may allow another party to take over the management of their property. In a revocable living trust, the grantor may also serve as the trustee, allowing them to decide how assets will be used while they are still alive. They will also name a successor trustee who will take over management of the trust after their death or if they become ill or incapacitated. In a living trust, the grantor may also be a beneficiary, and this will ensure that they can continue using their assets to support themselves throughout their lifetime. In other cases, a person may want to create an irrevocable trust that cannot be altered, which may ensure that assets will be protected from creditors or other parties. A grantor may also provide specific instructions for how their assets will be used, which may prevent them from being wasted by beneficiaries.

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shutterstock_1523981921-min.jpgThe death of a loved one can be difficult. In addition to dealing with the grief that comes from losing a beloved friend or family member, it will also be necessary to address the person’s final affairs. The person who was named as the executor of the deceased person’s estate will need to complete the probate process. An executor will want to be sure they fully understand their duties and responsibilities during this process, and with the help of an attorney, they can take steps to make sure their loved one’s final wishes will be followed correctly.

Understanding the Illinois Probate Process

A person’s last will and testament will name someone that they wish to serve as the executor of their estate, such as a family member or close friend. Following the person’s death, the executor will be required to do the following:

  1. File the will in probate court - By opening a probate case, the executor will begin the legal process of overseeing the estate. The court will officially appoint the person as the executor, giving them the right to administer the estate. In some cases, an executor may be required to post a bond, which will help ensure that they will administer the estate correctly.

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Cook County living will attorneyFor many people and families, the process of estate planning is focused on what will happen after a person’s death. By creating a will or using tools such as trusts, a person can make decisions about how their final affairs will be handled, including how they will pass their assets to their heirs. However, an estate plan can also address how various matters will be handled before a person’s death. In addition to ensuring that they will have the financial resources they need, a person can make decisions about the medical care they will receive. This can help a family avoid uncertainty as a person gets closer to the end of their life, and the person can make sure their wishes will be followed if they become ill enough that they cannot express their preferences to others. A living will can often be the best way to address these issues.

What Is a Living Will?

A last will and testament will only take effect after a person’s death, and it will address a person’s final wishes. A living will, on the other hand, will address the medical care that a person may receive before their death. This legal document takes the form of a declaration stating a person’s preferences for medical care and treatment if they are terminally ill.

A living will is only applicable in situations where a person has an irreversible medical condition that will result in their death. Once a doctor determines that a person’s condition is terminal, and medical treatment would only serve to delay the moment of death, the living will’s terms will go into effect. These terms may address the types of medical treatment a person should receive and whether certain types of treatment should be withheld. By using a living will, a person can ensure that they will receive the proper treatment in cases where they become incapacitated and cannot make their desires known to others.

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