The first step to a solid estate plan is to create your living will. This is the document that informs your loved ones what your wishes are regarding your property, assets and more. When you don’t have a will, then there will be a lot of questions about what to do with your property after you die. In many cases, it will be up to the court to decide what your wishes were. Now, when drafting a will, it might be tempting to add everything. The truth is that there are types of property that you should not include when you make your will.
Often, people will use trusts to avoid probate altogether. Wills, on the other hand, do not avoid probate. If you have a trust for some of your property, then you can leave those assets in the trust. Do not include them in your will because those assets are already being managed by the trustee and will automatically go to your beneficiaries if something were to happen to you.
Life insurance Proceeds
A lot of life insurance proceeds already have a beneficiary. For instance, if your proceeds go straight to your spouse or to your children, then you do not need to put them into the will. These already have a plan and will go straight to the loved ones who are your beneficiaries.
Joint Tenancy Property
Joint tenancy property goes straight to the joint tenant if you were to die. Hence, if something happens to you, then your share of the property goes to that person. It doesn’t matter what your will says about that specific property, it would go to the joint tenant.
Retirement Plan Proceeds
Retirement plan proceeds and any money from pensions or 401(k)s do not need to be included in your will. There is an area in your retirement plan to list who your beneficiary is. If you have a beneficiary listed, then there is no reason to include it.
It can be tempting to add everything to your will to be careful. The truth is, however, that you do not have to add everything to your will. There is some property that is already taken care of. As you draft your checklist of what to include in your will, it may help to speak with a top estate planning lawyer in Folsom, CA. He or she can guide you through the process and make sure that you include the necessary assets. For more information, set up a consultation with a lawyer.
Thanks to Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and tips for wills.