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What Won’t a Will Do for You?

Wills are among the simplest estate planning tools and are excellent for addressing a variety of estate planning needs. However, it’s important to realize they will not address all of your estate planning needs.

Here are some tasks a will does not accomplish:

  • Leaving certain kinds of property. In most situations, you are not allowed to use a will to leave behind property you hold in joint tenancy with another person, life insurance proceeds, property you have in a living trust, money in retirement plans for which you already have a beneficiary, money in payable-on-death accounts and more.

  • Providing instructions for your funeral. Wills usually are not read until days or weeks after your death, at which point your funeral will already have occurred. You should have a separate document outlining your wishes for your funeral and make sure your executor knows where to find it.

  • Reducing estate taxes. Wills do not help you avoid taxes. If that is one of your goals, certain kinds of trusts will help you achieve it.

  • Avoiding probate. While not all wills will be contested, they do all have to pass through probate to ensure their validity before their contents can be exercised.

  • Arranging care for a beneficiary with special needs. If this is a concern for your estate plan, you can accomplish it through the establishment of a special needs trust.

  • Leaving money to pets. Because pets cannot own property, you are not allowed to leave any assets to you dog. You can, however, leave your pet to another person, as well as money specifically meant for the care of that pet.

For more information on what wills do and do not accomplish in an estate plan, contact the experienced Orlando attorneys at Gierach & Gierach, P.A.

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