Our example couple, even though they have a living
trust that contains all of their monetary assets, still
need "pour-over wills" for those assets they hold
outside the trust. While the trust determines the distribution
of the assets it contains, other assets such as jewelry,
family heirlooms, furniture, cars and antiques, need to have
their distribution specified in a pour-over will.
Even with a living trust, if you do not have a "pour-over
will," California law requires that probate proceedings
take place. A pour-over will eliminates probate in that case,
by "pouring" all of the descendant's assets held outside
of the trust into the trust upon death.
A will typically leaves most personal effects, motor vehicles,
and the like to the surviving spouse and then to their children.
Instead, a pour-over will moves assets held by the decedent
to the trust, which then follow the trust's provisions. This
takes advantage of the revocable
nature of the trust and adds to its value. The trust's existing
distributions don't need to be altered, and the added assets
will follow the rules already set up within the trust
Wills can also impose conditions that may be beyond
what a trust can demand. A will should be periodically
reviewed to account for new possessions or the removal
of old ones, as well as any changes to the beneficiaries.
The more current a will is, the less confusion there
may be over its contents. Items left out of the will,
or not specifically addressed, are the cause of much
of the contention between survivors, and an up-to-date
will may answer many questions.
The distribution of assets contained in the trust cannot be
changed by a will. To
change the trust beneficiaries, the trust itself must be amended.
THE MAMOLA LAW FIRM, APC is conveniently located throughout Orange County. For additional information, please contact us at (949) 333-6543.