Why a pour-over will can be important
People in South Carolina who are using a trust in their estate plan may also want to create a pour-over will. The purpose of a pour-over will is to place all assets not already in the trust or passed using other methods, such as beneficiary designations, into the trust.
A pour-over will can be useful because it is not uncommon for people to forget to add new assets to a trust. If a person dies and there are assets that are not covered by a will, a trust or other means, the assets will go the next of kin. This is generally the spouse and children. It can mean that a family member from whom a person is estranged might receive an inheritance while another family member who was supposed to receive it might get nothing.
One thing many people like about trusts is that they do not have to pass through probate. Unfortunately, assets passed using a pour-over will still must go through the probate process even though they are ultimately destined to become part of the trust. A pour-over will should always be viewed as a backup and not as a primary estate planning tool. It is a good idea to review trusts annually to make sure any needed assets have been added.
Other estate planning documents should also be reviewed and updated regularly. In addition to a change in assets, laws or families may go through changes. In addition to revising a will or a trust as needed, people should also make sure they review beneficiary designations. These are often overlooked as part of an estate plan, and the result can be an ex-spouse or another unintended person getting assets. People may also want to review their medical and financial powers of attorney.