When you draft your will as part of your estate plan, there are some things to keep in mind about your assets. Namely, not all assets can be included in wills, and even if they are, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be carried out.
For instance, if you own joint tenancy property with another person, that co-tenant has a right of survivorship upon your death. If you and your second wife are joint tenants of your marital home and you put in your will that you want your share of the home to go to your children, it will not. Instead, your share automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant, overriding any directives in your will.
Living trusts are another exception, as the property in the trust doesn’t have to go through probate. If your will leaves property to an heir, but the property has already been incorporated into a living trust, it will revert to the trust and be managed by a trustee. Life insurance policies specify beneficiaries, also. This is why it’s essential to review your estate plan documents with your attorney whenever you have a major life transition like a marriage, divorce, a child is born or an heir dies or is disinherited.
If you have animals that you want to ensure are cared for after you are gone, it’s best to arrange for the continuation of their care with a trusted friend or relative. Rescue groups can sometimes assist you with making placement arrangements, and you can delegate a sum of money for their care and upkeep in your will if you choose.
Our attorneys will be happy to work with you to draft the proper estate plan documents to reflect your last wishes.