Though a will is essential to any estate plan, there are some things a will cannot do. It’s important to be aware of these situations and adequately discuss them with your estate planning attorney when preparing a will.
A will is not able to pass down all types of property. Wills cannot pass joint tenancy or community property. Wills cannot pass pension assets or life insurance policies with named beneficiaries. These are just a few common examples. Be sure to consult an estate attorney to ensure your estate plan effectively transfers all assets per your wishes.
A will alone cannot help you reduce estate taxes. If this is your objective, then you will want to consult a specialized estate attorney for help discerning and drafting the proper documents to achieve this end.
Lastly, a will does not prevent an estate from entering probate. This seems to be a common misconception. Only a trust can keep your estate out of probate. If avoiding the probate process is important to you, then you will want to consult a trust lawyer when doing your estate planning.
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