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The benefits of a pour-over will

To ensure a smooth asset division process, many New Jersey residents combine a pour-over will with a trust-based estate plan. It is often used when property needs to be transferred into a trust. The proper beneficiaries could be identified using the pour-over will.

If the assets haven't been included in a revocable living trust, the pour-over will can identify which assets will be distributed to the identified parties. The trust becomes the beneficiary of any property not included in it, thus preventing the assets from being passed to a living beneficiary.

A living trust prevents probate because it is funded by the property held. In funding the trust with properties, probate is avoided. Pour-over wills, on the other hand, require probate action if any property held isn't funded in a trust before the estate holder dies. Property not held in a living trust will pass to heirs in accordance to state regulations if there is no other established will.

The pour-over will acts as the second level of protection for estate owners who have assets not defined in a living trust. If assets are not included in a trust, the assets will be transferred to heirs by default.

This is why a trust should be reviewed every year. State laws involving inheritance are constantly changing, and those changes can affect the status of trusts, guardianships, estate planning and living wills. Consulting with an estate planning attorney and beginning the process of drafting estate planning documents could potentially eliminate any future family disputes.

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Lanza & Lanza LLP
5 Main Street
Flemington, NJ 08822

Phone: 908-905-0183
Fax: 908-782-4012
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