Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

How a pour-over will can protect a trust

Trusts have become an essential part of estate planning for many people in New York. These instruments can provide a range of benefits to people during their lifetime and beyond. Some kinds of trusts can provide tax advantages. Others provide a much higher level of privacy and control in directing the distribution of a person's assets after he or she passes away. Unlike a will, a trust does not go through the probate court. Therefore, it is not a public document and it is far more complicated or difficult to challenge a trust. In addition, trusts are an important way to pass on wealth to people who are not able to manage it themselves.

Parents of minor children opt for trusts frequently to ensure their wealth goes to their kids. They can ensure that their children receive benefits from the trust but do not control the principal until they are able to manage it effectively. Similarly, special needs trusts are important for the family members of people with physical or mental disabilities. Using these instruments, people can leave critically necessary funds for their loved ones without inhibiting their eligibility for government programs and assistance with housing and health care.

Many people with trusts may believe they do not need a will at all. However, it is far too easy to fail to fund a trust appropriately. Therefore, a pour-over will can help to ensure the trust functions as planned. This kind of will transfers any remaining property to the trust after the testator's death for further handling as specified in the trust documents.

Trusts can also serve as a way to create generational legacies of wealth or support charitable giving. An estate planning attorney can work with people to draft wills, trusts and other documents to govern the distribution of their assets.

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