Estate planning is an important part of family law. You've worked so hard for your assets. You might as well make sure that those assets, along with your family are protected. Although wills are wonderful, inexpensive, and a must-have, there are some things that you shouldn't expect to accomplish in your will.
In most cases. you cannot use your will to leave property you hold in joint tenancy. You also cannot do this with community property with right of survivorship. Your will cannot leave property that you've transferred to a living trust. You cannot use your will to leave proceeds of a life insurance policy for which you've named a beneficiary.
You can't leave money in a pension plan, IRA, 401(k) plan, or another retirement plan for which you've named a beneficiary. If the property is held by a beneficiary, you cannot leave these items either. This may include stocks, bonds, and in some states, real estate and vehicles.
You also cannot leave money that is payable-on-death bank account.
Wills are usually not read or in some cases even found until days or weeks after death. This will be too late to help individuals who need to make immediate decisions about the disposition of a body and the funeral services.
You will definitely want to put this information in a separate document. You will also want to tell your executor where to find this information when the time comes.
If you think that your estate will leave you owing federal taxes, you may want to tax steps to reduce the tax or avoid taxes. There are plenty of trusts that can reduce or postpone the tax bill.
Often property gets tied up for several months or a year in probate court before it can be distributed.
You cannot leave a gift that is contingent on the marriage, divorce, or change of religion of a recipient.You can do something such as "leave money to Jane Doe, for when she wants to go to college." This can often open up a can of worms though. Who will enforce the conditions of the will and for how long?
If you want to provide long-term care for someone, a will isn't the place. Far better to set up a trust that's tailored to the beneficiary's needs.
Need help creating your will? Contact Palacios Law Group.