Illinois residents and others may elect to create a pour-over will to ensure that their assets are transferred as intended when they die. It is especially helpful for those who have acquired assets after creating a trust and have failed to title them in the trust’s name. If items aren’t accounted for in another will or estate plan document, they may be allocated to surviving family members in accordance with state law.

In most cases, spouses and surviving parents will receive assets that are held outside of a trust and not accounted for in a will. Children and grandchildren are typically next on the list of family members who may inherit a home, car or other possessions that aren’t listed as part of a will or trust. One of the potential drawbacks of a pour-over will is that it doesn’t typically exempt items held outside of a trust from probate.

Therefore, it will ideally be used as a safety net as opposed to the primary method by which assets are added to a living trust. Individuals are encouraged to review their estate plans annually to minimize the chances that their assets aren’t properly titled. However, a revocable trust can be amended at any point, assuming that the grantor is mentally competent to do so.

Those who have concerns or questions about who may inherit their possessions may want to speak with an estate planning attorney. A lawyer may explain the various ways to title assets so that beneficiaries may receive them without having to wait for the probate process to conclude. Legal counsel may also inform someone how a will or trust may help ensure that his or her assets go to the intended beneficiaries. If necessary, an attorney may amend or assist with creating estate plan documents.

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