Writing a last will and testament is a responsible and selfless task. It is an organized way to distribute your property and assets to your loved ones after you pass away. And, it tells others what you want for your health care and end-of-life decisions.
However, there are certain items that you should not, or cannot, include in your will.
If you already have a named beneficiary for your life insurance, you cannot designate someone else as a beneficiary for it in your will. The life insurance beneficiary will take precedence over what you put in the will. The same is true with proceeds from Pay on Death or Transfer on Death accounts, retirement accounts and any other pre-designated accounts.
If you own property or assets with another person(s), ownership will automatically transfer to the co-owner(s).
Instead of leaving set dollar amounts to your beneficiaries, it is best to leave a percent amount. The amount of money you have may change before you pass away, leaving the dollar amounts to suddenly be inconsistent.
You cannot leave a condition stipulating marriage, divorce or a change of religion before the person receives the money. You also cannot state conditions that are illegal in your will.
Money to a Person with Special Needs
It is best to establish a Special Nees Trust rather than leave the person with a lump sum of money. A Special Needs Trust names a person or authority to care for someone that needs extra help with money and life.
It is best to set up a separate trust or LLC to distribute your business interests to your loved ones. A Family LLC can be used to facilitate a smooth transfer of your business to your beneficiary while avoiding probate court.
While you want to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone, a will is not always the best way to distribute your assets. Sometimes a trust, an LLC or other legal documents should be used. This is when an estate planning attorney will help you.
You need an experienced estate planning attorney to organize the best way to distribute your assets after you have passed away. You need someone to customize your plan in a way that will help your loved ones get through this process as smoothly as possible. We can do this for you.
Contact the estate planning attorneys at Estate and Probate Legal Group to discuss how to organize your assets to ensure they will be distributed according to your wishes. Call us today at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.