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Many clients who create an estate plan choose to utilize a revocable living trust. Trusts are excellent planning tools that allow clients to provide for the distribution and management of their assets, avoid probate administration, and potentially minimize taxes. Just because a client has a trust, however, does not mean that the client does not also have a will. The will acts as a catchall for any assets that were not moved into the trust during the creator’s lifetime. This type of will pours the assets into the trust, which is why it is often known as a pour-over will. Once the estate administration process begins, you may find yourself needing to carry out the provisions of a pour-over will. The following are six tips about pour-over wills in California:

  1. A pour-over will is used in conjunction with a trust.
  2. As executor under the will, you will need to gather the assets of the estate and re-register them to the name of the trust.
  3. Before pouring any assets into the trust, you may need to pay certain expenses of the estate. These may include probate administration costs, state or federal taxes, or funeral expenses.
  4. You may be both the executor under the pour-over will and the trustee under the trust, meaning your role will be to transfer control of the assets to yourself in one capacity and to yourself in another capacity.
  5. The pour-over will should outline your powers as executor of the estate.
  6. If you the decedent left behind minor children, the pour-over will may appoint a guardian. This important task will occur without any need for involving the trust. 

Pour-over wills work very closely with revocable living trusts. To learn more trust and estate administration, view our free guide, Understanding the Revocable Living Trust – In Language that Anyone Can Understand in 8 minutes. Contact the experienced Orange County estate administration attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC for a consultation. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481.

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