What exactly is a Will?
A Will is a document which tells the world who you want to receive assets of yours upon your death (your beneficiaries).
Some or all of your assets may pass to your intended beneficiaries by means other than a Will, such as through a revocable trust, through joint tenancy with right of survivorship or by way of a contract-based designation such as an IRA, a 401k, annuity and/or life insurance.
However, people are most familiar with the concept of a Will which can (and often is) the primary way people transfer their property at their death.
The basic Will identifies the members of your family, names an executor to manage your estate, directs what to do regarding the payments of your last debts and taxes, and gives specific directions for distribution of the rest of your assets at death.
The Will must be properly executed in accordance with Vermont law.
What is a “pour-over” Will?
A “pour-over” Will is a term of art to describe a Will that is used in conjunction with a revocable trust (also sometimes called a revocable living trust). A revocable trust is an agreement between you and a designated “trustee” about how to distribute assets of yours retitled in the name of the trust during your life upon your death (or disability).
A pour-over Will is a simple document, directing that any of your property that did not make it into your revocable trust before you died be put in there now and pass according to the terms in the trust. (Unfortunately however, IF it is the case that some items DO need to pass through a pour-over Will, a probate will be required; a qualified estate planning attorney can explain how this can happen to you.)
Don’t try this at home! Please give me a call for a free consultation to find out if a revocable trust (and pour-over Will) are right for you.