What a West Palm Beach Will Won’t Do for You
Wills are a useful and vital tool in estate planning. However, some people don’t realize that wills won’t accomplish everything you want when it comes to your assets. That is one reason why retaining an experienced West Palm Beach estate planning attorney is so important. At the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A., we can help you prepare a will and assist with your other estate planning needs.
If you are looking at drafting a will, here are a few of the things you shouldn’t expect it to cover.
Wills Don’t Transfer All Your Property
Certain kinds of property do not transfer via a last will and testament. Examples of property that doesn’t fall under your will include:
- Property that has been moved to a living trust;
- Assets that have named beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies;
- Property that is TOD or transfer-on-death, which could include stocks and bonds;
- Property with joint tenancy title or joint property with right of survivorship; and
- Money that is in your retirement account, such as a 401(k) or your pension plan.
Wills Don’t Help You Avoid Probate
If you have a will, your estate will be going through probate. In some cases, assets can be tied up for months or a year before they will be distributed to the people inheriting it.
You Cannot Leave Property or Money to Pets in Your Will
Despite what you see on television or in movies, pets cannot own property even if someone names them in their will. Instead, you want to leave your pet to a good home and give that person money to assist with pet-related expenses. In some cases, you can set up a trust for your pet, but it’s not required.
Don’t Leave Your Funeral Instructions in Your Will
In many cases, wills are not discovered under days or weeks after someone passes away. Please don’t leave your funeral and burial instructions in your will, or your family may not even see it until it’s too late. You should have a separate document that spells out your final wishes, and your executor should know where it’s located.
You Cannot Provide for Long-Term Care
Wills aren’t the place to leave instructions and compensation for someone’s unique needs. If you have a family member who needs special medical care or other assistance, you need to look at a special needs trust. A special needs trust can set up income for someone with disabilities and arrange for their needs, all without jeopardizing their potential government benefits.
Do Not Give Assets with Conditions
While you may think it’s smart to leave assets with conditions, it could be deemed illegal. For example, you cannot say that a family only gets something if they get married or divorced. There may be some loopholes where you can try in a more roundabout way; however, it opens the door to your will being tossed out. If you want to give conditional gifts, your will is not the place.
Contact a West Palm Beach Estate Planning Attorney
If you need assistance with drafting a will or other aspects of your estate plan, let our skilled West Palm Beach estate planning attorneys help. Contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A., today to schedule an initial consultation.