'Pour-Over-Will' Still May Need Probate

Question: In a recent column you said that, after a revocable living trust is created, a home or shares of IBM stock would have to be specifically transferred into the RLT. In other words, unless there were transfer documents such as a deed of the home to the RLT, the RLT would have nothing.

When we created our RLT, we also created a “pour over” will. Our attorney said that any assets not in the RLT would be transferred at the time of our death to our RLT by our “pour-over will.” Since we created our RLT, we have bought and sold several homes in Arizona, and we have made numerous stock trades. We have not been very diligent in procuring the proper paperwork to reflect this activity, however, because we relied on our “pour-over will.”

In light of your recent column, however, we are concerned. Could you please clarify?

Answer: The primary purpose of an RLT is to avoid the time and expense of probate. Any assets such as a home or shares of stock that are not formally transferred before death into the RLT will be transferred after death into the RLT by the language in a “pour-over will.” A probate of the “pour-over will,” however, will probably be necessary. Therefore, to avoid probate, all assets that you currently own should be transferred now into your RLT.

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