Many people often make the mistake of assuming that their will controls the distribution of their full estate. It’s easy to forget that certain aspects are automatically excluded under the terms of your will.
There are three common methods by which assets might be transferred to your beneficiaries after your death outside of what’s named in your will or what goes through the probate process in your state. These include beneficiary designations, a will or a trust or joint ownership with right of survivorship.
Beneficiary designations are common with IRAs, 401(k) plans, pensions and life insurance. The accounts are distributed directly to the beneficiary that you name on the form when you pass away and your will does not have any say over these benefits. If you own property as tenants in common with another person, your 50% of the property will follow the provisions in your will.
However, jointly owned property with right of survivorship generally goes to the surviving joint owner regardless of what is stated in the will. If you have questions about this process or how to leverage your own individual estate planning, schedule a consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer in your area today.