When a Will Won't Work

If you have been drafting a will, it is important to note that this official document cannot accomplish every single thing that you may desire to do regarding your estate plan. You may want to make multiple documents that will secure the future of your assets, as a will can only handle some of the legal actions you may want to take. You can't use a will to leave property that you hold in joint tenancy with someone else. This is because the share will automatically be transferred to your co-owned. Unless you and your co-owner die simultaneously, any jointly-owned property will simply be transferred and cannot be willed either way.

Also, a will can't divide or distribute any property that has been placed in a living trust. If you have placed any property in one of these trusts, it is important that you make sure that the trust is organized how you prefer. You may be able to revoke the trust and place the items therein in your will if this is a preferable method.

Wills can't distribute any stocks or bonds that are currently held in beneficiary transfer-on-death form. If you want to change the beneficiary, contact a brokerage company to negotiate this situation. Money in a payable-on-death account also can't be designated by a will. This is because the beneficiary is already on the account. If you want to change the beneficiary of one of these accounts then you will need to fill out a form at the bank to do so.

Any property that you currently have in a life insurance policy that has a designated beneficiary cannot be distributed in a will. The money from this policy will be given directly to the individual that has been named on the policy. Also, money in a pension plan, individual retirement account, or any other retirement plan for which you've named a beneficiary will not be distributed by a will. It is important to know that designating new beneficiaries for these various accounts and properties in a will will not be affective. Instead, the beneficiaries listed on each account will get the finances regardless of whether or not you prefer this.

Also, if you would like to leave your loved ones instructions for your funeral or memorial service, it is best to do this in a separate document. In most cases, wills aren't even read until days or weeks after a death. This may not be helpful to people that are already planning your funeral. If you want to plan your own funeral, it is best to tell an executor that you intend to do this and give him or her separate document to provide your family with at the proper time.

In a will, it is also impossible to leave money to pets. You can leave your pet to someone who has agreed to provide a good home and then can provide the caretaker with money to cover any pet-related expenses. Some states will allow individuals to set up trusts for their animals, but if you can trust the caretaker looking after your animal a trust may not be necessary.

Also, when drafting a will you cannot leave money for any illegal purpose. If you earmark money for something illegal, such as a drug habit that your nephew has or for funding an undercover operation, the money will not be used for this purpose. A will also can't put conditions on gifts. You cannot leave a gift that is contingent on marriage, divorce, or a recipient's change of religion. It is okay to provide gifts based on lesser stages in an individual's life.

For example, if an individual provides a financial gift to his grandson if and when the grandson attends school, then this is an acceptable condition. Also, conditions based on if and when a person buys a home are also acceptable. If you want more information about wills and what conditions are not affective you may need a probate lawyer to assist you in your case. Locate a probate attorney on this website today!