Wills are the cornerstones of most estate plans because they are inexpensive and simple ways to address the vast majority of people’s estate planning needs. However, a will cannot help you accomplish everything in the estate planning process and there are some things that you should consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer about to ensure that you have incorporated them into your overall plan.
One of the most common things people have misconceptions about as it relates to a will is that they are not able to be used to leave all kinds of property. For example, you cannot use your will to leave:
- Property held in a transfer on death form, such as real estate, vehicles, bonds, or stocks in some states.
- Money inside a pension plan.
- Property transferred into a living trust.
- Proceeds of a life insurance policy.
- Property that is held in joint tenancy by the entirety or community property with the right of survivorship.
- Money in an individual retirement account or 401(k) plan.
It is also not recommended that you include funeral instructions in your will because wills are not typically even found or read until days or weeks after a death has occurred.
For this reason, you’ll want to consult with an experienced lawyer. You are also not able to use wills to leave money to pets or leave money for an illegal purpose. For more specific questions about your process of creating a will, schedule a consultation with an attorney.
At our Pasadena estate planning offices, we can help you ensure that you have included all the most important aspects of your estate plan without neglecting those that fall outside of a will’s purview. A comprehensive estate plan will protect you and your loved ones for years to come.