There Are Some Things a Will Just Cannot Do for You
A will is a simple, effective and relatively inexpensive way to address many of your estate planning needs. However, there are certain things your will cannot do for you. The following are a few examples:
- Pass on certain types of property: You cannot use a will to leave behind property held in joint tenancy with another person, property you have placed in a living trust, life insurance proceeds, money in pension plans or retirement accounts with beneficiaries or property held in beneficiary form.
- Leave funeral instructions: Wills usually are not read or even discovered until after the funeral has occurred. Instead, you should have a completely separate document that outlines all your wishes for your funeral and burial. You should also make sure your loved ones know where to find it.
- Avoid probate: Property left through a will is subject to the probate process. If avoiding probate is a goal of yours, explore using a trust.
- Reduce estate taxes: There are other steps you can take to reduce the tax liability for your estate, but creating a will is not one of them.
- Put some conditions on gifts: You may put contingent gifts in a will, but some contingencies are not legal. You cannot, for example, leave a gift with a contingency that a child must get married or divorced, or must change his or her religion. You can, however, leave money specifically (and only) to be used for paying for college, for example.
- Leave money behind for illegal uses: You cannot leave money behind for any purpose that could be classified as illegal.
- Create a plan for special needs care: If you have a beneficiary with special needs, there are other types of documents that will better outline the type of care he or she is to receive after your passing. Individuals typically use trusts to leave behind assets for people with special needs.
For more information on wills, trusts and other estate planning issues, meet with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney at The Charles Law Offices.