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What your final will cannot do for you – and how to compensate

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2024 | Wills |

A well-crafted will grants you control over what happens to your assets after you are gone. It lets you choose who inherits your money, property and cherished possessions. However, there are limitations to its reach.

Here are four key things a will cannot address.

Assets in a trust

Trusts offer several advantages, including bypassing probate (verifying the will). If you create a trust to hold certain assets until your death, you should not address those assets in your will. Doing so can create confusion for the person responsible for carrying out your wishes (executor) and potentially lead to delays. Since the trust document clearly outlines how the assets will be distributed, avoid reiterating those instructions in your will.

Pre-designated beneficiaries

Life insurance policies and retirement accounts allow you to choose who will inherit these assets upon your passing. Unlike your will, which goes through probate in New York, these designations trigger an automatic payout, expediting the process for your beneficiaries and preventing delays. Including them in your will is unnecessary and might create confusion during probate. It is best to keep your beneficiary designations for these accounts up-to-date and ensure they align with your overall estate plan.

Pet inheritances

You love your furry (or otherwise adorned) family members, but the law considers them property, so they cannot inherit. However, you can leave them an indirect inheritance. A pet trust empowers you to appoint a caretaker and allocate funds solely for their continued care and comfort. A well-funded trust can ensure they live in the manner you provided while you remained alive.

By taking all of these nuances of the law into consideration and more, consulting a representative familiar with New York estate laws, including wills and trusts, can help you create a sound plan that meets your needs and goals effectively.