Working with an estate planning attorney helps you to cover all of your bases with the estate planning process, so that you have clarity on what will happen to your assets, who will step in to make important decisions on your behalf and who will handle things such as administration of your estate. It is likely that you have specific wishes for certain assets to be passed on to specific individuals but what happens to those assets that are not called outright.
A pour over will can be a valuable estate planning tool to help direct what happens to any assets that you own at the time of your death, naming that these will be transferred into a living trust that you created previously. A revocable or living trust is frequently used as part of an estate plan for many people in the United States. You can transfer ownership of assets to the trust after you create it during your lifetime.
While you’re still alive, you remain the trustee and can also name a backup trustee who is responsible for taking over trust management asset when you pass away or become incapacitated. In creating your living trust, you will also name beneficiaries who are entitled to receive assets placed inside the trust. Once you pass away assets inside the living trust can transfer using a trust administration process. Assets held outside of the trust, however, would need to be addressed in some other way such as a transfer-on-death bank account, or in the probate process.
If you did not provide specific instructions for what happens to those other assets, MI laws would apply which would distribute the assets to family members based on their personal relationship to you by blood, and the distribution may not be what you had in mind. Using a pour over will is an excellent way to protect your interests. Contact a Michigan estate planning lawyer for more support with your own pour over will.