Estate Planning for Couples Made Easy with Pour-Over Trusts

With love comes responsibility, and one of those responsibilities is managing your finances as a couple. You both have your own individual accounts and properties, but you also have shared assets that you’ve acquired together. The question then becomes, what happens to all of these accounts and properties when one or both of you pass away?

The answer is not an easy one, but fear not, because there is a unique estate planning tool that can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with making such decisions. It’s called the pour-over trust, and it’s specifically designed for married couples who think about their accounts and property as “yours, mine, and ours.”

What is a joint pour-over trust?

A type of trust that holds your and your spouse’s joint property. You can create this trust together and name yourselves as the current trustees. When one of you passes away, half of the joint trust’s accounts and property is distributed to the deceased spouse’s separate trust, and the other half is distributed to the surviving spouse’s separate trust.

To make sure everything goes according to your plan, you may need to create three trusts – the joint pour-over trust and one separate trust for each spouse. Jointly owned property goes into the joint pour-over trust, while separately owned property goes into each spouse’s separate trust. This allows you to provide different instructions for handling jointly and separately owned accounts and property.

Once the first spouse passes away, the joint pour-over trust has no more work to do, and it won’t require ongoing administration. This makes it an efficient estate planning tool for couples who want to simplify the process of managing and distributing their assets.

What are some other benefits of a joint pour-over trust?

Ease in trust funding and administration

A joint pour-over trust is a trust that you and your spouse can use to manage your shared accounts and property. It’s helpful because both of you can control it, and you can easily transfer your joint assets into it.

Avoids probate

Avoiding probate is a common reason why people consider creating a trust-based estate plan. If you and your spouse put your joint accounts and property into a trust, it can help your loved ones avoid probate in the event that you both pass away at the same time. Your chosen backup trustee can carry out the instructions without court supervision.

Keep things separate

If you and your spouse have joint accounts and property, putting them into a joint pour-over trust can help keep them separate from your individual accounts and property. This makes it easier to manage your assets according to your wishes. However, it’s important to consider whether putting all of your accounts and property into a joint trust is the right choice for you. If some accounts or property have already been handled separately, combining them in a joint trust could make things more complicated and go against your wishes. It’s important to think through the pros and cons and make the decision that’s best for you and your family.

We can help

Just because you and your spouse have both joint and separate accounts and property doesn’t mean that you can’t plan for how those assets will be distributed after your death. By working together, we can evaluate all of your accounts and property and discuss your wishes for how they should be handled. We can then create an estate plan that takes into account your specific circumstances and ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Reach out to us today and we can create a plan that works best for you, your spouse, and the rest of your loved ones.

I'm interested in...

Getting a California Will

getting a California will icon

Creating a California Revocable Living Trust

California revocable living trust icon

Help with Healthcare Documents in California

healthcare documents in California icon

Avoiding Conservatorship

avoiding conservatorship icon
avvo clients' choice award for california estate planning attorney
California estate planning attorney wealth counsel membership badge
California estate planning attorney elder counsel membership badge
California estate planning attorney BBB membership badge
California estate planning attorney BBB membership badge
California estate planning attorney BBB membership badge


750 F Street, Suite 2,
Davis, CA 95616.



333 University Ave Suite 200 Sacramento CA 95825



3017 Douglas Boulevard Suite 300 Roseville CA 95616


Skip to content