Your will is the most basic component of your estate plan, but it doesn’t cover all your primary needs. In this official legal document, you can state a lot of things about your intentions, such as who you intend to take over as the executor of your estate and who you’d like to have the responsibility of caring for your minor children if something happens to you.
But it’s a mistake to assume that your will encompasses every aspect of your planning. Leaving your will as the only document might not accomplish all the goals you intended, leaving your loved ones to handle the rest.
Many things pass to loved ones or intended organizations outside of your will. Some do this by default based on the ownership of those assets at the time, but others will require you to fill out additional paperwork. This includes your IRA or your life insurance policy, where you’ll need to direct the managers of those accounts how to handle the transfer of your assets or funds.
In addition to those accounts, there are other things your will cannot accomplish, such as:
- Adding privacy to your estate plan. A will is public record in your state, so other people can legally request access to that documentation and see what’s in your estate.
- Pass on property designated as joint with right of survivorship. This will automatically go to the joint owner when you pass away.
- Pass on property that technically belongs to a living trust. The trust and the trustee are responsible for adhering to the terms of the created trust in these circumstances.
If you have more questions about what a will can do and cannot do, run these questions by an experienced estate planner today.