There are a number of essential things a last will and testament can do for you, such as distribute family heirlooms and name a guardian for minor children, but there are some equally important things a will won’t do:
Diminish estate taxes – a will won’t help you decrease your estate taxes, but a trusted attorney can help advise you on what kind of trust instruments can accomplish this for you.
Provide long-term care – if you want to provide for someone with special needs or a person with long-term care needs, you will need to establish a trust or invest in a life insurance policy.
Protect you in the event of your own incapacity – a will only goes into effect upon your death. It cannot appoint someone to handle your legal or financial affairs or make medical decisions for you while you are incapacity. To protect yourself in case you are incapacitated and unable to take care of your own affairs, you will need legal and medical powers of attorney.
Distribute some types of property – to distribute assets from a retirement or investment account or the proceeds of a life insurance policy, you must execute the proper beneficiary designation forms, which supersede instructions in a will. If you own property jointly with someone else, your will won’t allow you to distribute that property.
Provide for pets – because pets cannot legally own property, you will either need to establish a pet trust or designate a caretaker and provide funds for the care of your pet after you are gone.
If you’d like to learn more about wills, living wills, advance health care directives, Power of Attorney for Health Care designations or any other aspects of estate planning, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.