Choosing to draft a will is a wise decision that can save your heirs time, energy, and stress. A last will and testament dictates your wishes regarding all of your assets. You can draft a will on your own, but this is not recommended as mistakes are possible. At the minimum, you should have an estate planning lawyer review your will to ensure it has met all the legal requirements of the state of Tennessee.
What should not be included in a will?
There are certain things that you should not include in your will. The following are only some. To learn about everything that can and cannot be included in a will, you can talk with a Memphis, TN estate planning lawyer.
1. Joint tenancy property. This is a special property that automatically gives your joint tenant the right to the property, regardless of what your will dictates.
2. Property listed in a living trust. If you don’t want your estate going through probate, you will need to set up a living trust with a lawyer. Any property that you list in a living trust cannot be included in a will. Furthermore, property in a living trust will automatically go to the beneficiaries. To change this, you’ll need to have your estate planning lawyer complete special forms. It cannot be done through a will.
3. Life insurance proceeds. If you have life insurance with a beneficiary, they will be given to that individual regardless of what is stated in a will.
4. Retirement plan proceeds. Any money from your retirement plans, such as a 401 (k), will go to the beneficiaries you listed within the respective forms to these plans.
Leaving Funeral Instructions in a Will
As you and your Memphis, TN estate planning lawyer draw up a will, the topic of funeral preparations might arise. It is recommended you create a separate document that details your wishes for the funeral. This is because a will is typically not reviewed until after the funeral which means no one may even see your wishes until after it has already taken place. The document describing these wishes can be held by your estate planning lawyer or given to the executor of the estate.
Quick Tips About Last Will and Testaments
1. Wills do not allow you to avoid taxes. Wills are subject to estate taxes. If you wish to avoid large tax fees, you should talk to your lawyer about drawing up a trust.
2. Wills do go through probate. All wills are required to go through the probate process. Even if everything in the will is in good order, the process is not a swift one. There are ways to avoid probate. For example, you could put your assets in a trust fund. If you’re interested in this, please consult an estate planning lawyer.
3. Avoid arranging care for a person with special needs. A will is not the right place to detail the type of care you would like a person with special needs to have. Rather you should consider a special needs trust.
4. Do not leave your pets ‘gifts.’ Animals are not legally able to own assets. If you’re concerned about your pet, it is recommended to leave it with someone who can take good care of it. Depending on the state you are in, you may be able to name your pet as the beneficiary of a trust. If this makes you comfortable, you can talk to a Memphis, TN lawyer for further information.
Schedule a Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer Memphis, TN Clients Recommend
If you’re unsure about what to include and not to include in your own will, you should contact a lawyer for advice specific to your needs. Call Patterson Bray to speak with a lawyer you can trust.