Drafting a will may seem like a piece of cake. You can include how you want everything handled upon your death, and thus, you do not need to worry about taking any more measures, right? A will comprises part of a comprehensive estate plan, and it may not do everything you think it can, as an estate lawyer, like from Yee Law Group, can explain. Some things have no effect if included in a will. Learn about three things you cannot include in a will.
- Funeral Arrangements
A will is a document that does not get read until after a person’s death. It does not trigger until their moment of death, and there is a process before anything it sets out happens. A will goes through a court process called probate before a piece of property goes to the named heir in the will. Because of the delay in reading and executing a will, it should not include any details on what you want your funeral to look like. Putting these instructions here render them useless as they will not be read until after you are buried. You should have a separate document that sets out how you want your remains handled.
- Conditional Gifts
You want your son to inherit some cash, but not until he turns 25. A will does not function like this. You cannot put conditions on when or how items named in it get distributed or disbursed. A conditional gift can be placed in a trust with instructions for the beneficiary not to receive the property in it until they reach a certain age. A will can also not contemplate someone performing a task to get their named inheritance. For example, you cannot force your son to graduate from law school before receiving his inheritance.
- Insurance or Retirement Proceeds
Some accounts have designated beneficiaries. These are people you indicate are to receive the contents of the account when you die. There are a few examples of this type of financial arrangement:
- Life insurance
- Retirement accounts
Since you designate the beneficiaries of these accounts when you establish them, you cannot change them in your will. The company charged with disbursing these funds after your death will send them directly to the person or persons named in their documents, not according to your will. The only way to change the beneficiary designation is through the company holding the account.
A will cannot handle every situation, as you may believe. It is a good idea to get with a local estate planning lawyer to go over the dos and don’ts of creating a will.