Creating a will can help provide for your beneficiaries upon the event of your death and make certain wishes clear to family members. However, while this document can be useful and reduce confusion regarding the handling of your estate, there are a few circumstances that may limit its power. Realizing what these limitations are may be useful as you begin the process of drafting this important document.
1. Sudden Death
If you include funerary wishes in your will but happen to die suddenly and you did not tell anyone of the will’s existence or location, your family may make other burial plans in its absence. You can prevent this by giving your attorney permission to contact relatives about the will upon your death, but unless you create a living will that makes these wishes clear before your death, a will may not notify your loved ones in time.
2. Care for a Special-Needs Child
Because a will is typically used to disperse property and money fairly after you die, providing for the care of a living disabled child or adult may not be the best avenue for your wishes in this case. People you want to provide for after your death might benefit better from a living trust, which you can set up with an attorney or financial institution. Setting aside money in this trust and putting it in the care of another can help ensure the disabled individual will be provided for after your passing.
3. Probate Disputes
If there are details in your will that are not clear, such as who will inherit a piece of property after your death, the will may have to enter probate. During this type of litigation, the courts will review your will and listen to arguments made by those who believe they have a claim to the property. Probate may take months or even over a year before it is finished, so you may want to word your will carefully with the help of an attorney.
4. Tax Laws
Creating a will is not likely to help you avoid certain state and federal tax laws that could be applied to property and financial holdings named to beneficiaries after your death. In some cases, those individuals may have to pay taxes on what they receive. If you want to lower tax costs, you may want to create trusts for these individuals instead.
Creating a will may cause you to have questions about its limitations. Speak to a lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN, today for more information and for further assistance.
Thank you to the experts at Patterson Bray for their insight into estate planning and the law.