Living Trusts

What Is a Pour-Over Will?

If the goal of estate planning is to avoid probate, it seems counterintuitive that one would sign a will, but the pour-over will is an essential part of some estate plans, reports the Times Herald-Record’s article “Pour-over will a safety net for a living trust.”  So, what is a pour-over will?

What is a pour-over will
A pour-over will works in conjunction with your trust to make sure all your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

If you pass away with assets in your name alone, those assets will have to go through probate. The pour-over will names a trust as the beneficiary of probate assets, so the trust controls who receives the inheritance. The pour-over will works as a backup plan to the trust, and it also revokes past wills and codicils.

Living trusts became very common, and widely used after a 1991 AARP study concluded that families should be using trusts rather than wills, and that wills were obsolete. Trusts were suddenly not just for the wealthy. Middle class people started using trusts rather than wills, to save time and money and avoid estate battles among family members. Trusts also serve to keep your financial and personal affairs private. Wills that are probated are public documents that anyone can review.

Even a simple probate lasts about a year, before beneficiaries receive inheritances. A trust can be settled in months. Regarding the cost of probate, it is estimated that between 2—4% of the cost of settling an estate can be saved by using a trust instead of a will.

When a will is probated, family members receive a notice, which allows them to contest the will. When assets are in a trust, there is no notification. This avoids delay, costs and the aggravation of a will contest.

Wills are not a bad thing, and they do serve a purpose. However, this specific legal document comes with certain legal requirements.

The will was actually invented more than 500 years ago, by King Henry VIII of England. Many people still think that wills are the best estate planning document, but they may be unaware of the government oversight and potential complications when a will is probated.

Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss how probate may impact your heirs and see if you agree that the use of a trust and a pour-over will would make the most sense for your family.

Reference: Times Herald-Record (Sep. 13, 2019) “Pour-over will a safety net for a living trust.”

Feeling Squeezed? You Might be in the “Sandwich” Generation

The term “sandwich generation” was added to Meriam Webster’s dictionary in 2006.

If you’re feeling pressure on two generational sides—caring for aging parents and taking care of children—you’re a member of the Sandwich Generation.

Bigstock-Extended-Family-Outside-Modern-13915094The term “sandwich generation” was added to Meriam Webster’s dictionary in 2006. However, twelve years later, the number of people it describes seems to be on the rise. Sandwich Generation members are raising their children and are responsible for their parents or taking responsibility for their grandchildren and grandparents. Whichever sandwich you’re in, it’s not an easy place to be. Even if your parents or grandparents are financially fine, your time for yourself, your career and your kids is squeezed.

ThePress-Enterprise’s article, “3 tips for anyone in the sandwich generation,”offers the following tips tomake the “sandwiching” easier on you and your family:

  1. Talk About Money Issues. Discuss finances with your children and parents. Perhaps you could go with them to meet with their estate planning attorney. He or she can make sure your parents have all the proper estate planning documents, such as a will, trust, living wills and powers of attorney.

This legal professional will create a plan to lessen or avoid estate taxes and work to ensure that your life's savings and assets are protected from your beneficiaries' creditors after your death, and that your legacy is assured.

Estate planning attorneys are accustomed to working with families and navigating the issues between adult children and their aging parents. There is little chance that yours is a unique situation.  It does not mean it is easy, but a skilled attorney will be able to help you and your family deal with whatever situation you face, with dignity and compassion.

  1. Get (More) Help. You may get support or assistance to help your parents, your kids, or even yourself. Odds are good that your parents will be reluctant to accept help, so start the process yourself. This could involve hiring a housekeeper for yourself to free up some of your time for things that are more important.

 This will give you more time, and your parents won’t feel you are using your finances to assist them. If you have friends and relatives that offer help, take them up on it. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

If your children are old enough, you can also get them involved. Children are surprisingly capable, and sometimes grandparents are more comfortable having grandchildren help with minor chores around the house, where their children’s own actions may seem intrusive.

3.Get Rid of the Guilt. Even a dedicated husband and wife team can’t cover everything. Do the best you can and remember that you do have to set some time and energy aside for yourself.

Reference: (Riverside CA) Press-Enterprise(June 28, 2018)“3 tips for anyone in the sandwich generation”

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