Understanding The Limitations Of A Last Will And Testament

Understanding The Limitations Of A Last Will And Testament

A last will and testament is a key piece of any estate plan. However, there are limitations to the power of the last will that consumers must be aware of before hiring an estate planning lawyer in San Diego. The limitations will vary depending on what city and state the will is drafted in as well. Therefore, those looking to protect their estate and their loved ones should familiarize themselves with limitations before assuming they are protected.

A Will Does Not Create Funeral Plans

A last will cannot designate all funeral plans. Instead, the testator must create a plan with their loved ones and provide separate written instructions about how to handle burial or funeral arrangments. The last will is rarely discovered immediately upon death; therefore, even if the last will designated funeral arrangements, the executor may not find it in time.

Pet Care And Guardianship

A last will can allow someone to inherit a pet, but cannot allow a pet to inherit money. Instead, a pet protection agreement or form of a pet trust must be created. A guardian can then be appointed and an estate planning lawyer in San Diego can draft the pet agreement to ensure the testator’s animals are cared for and paid for.

Certain Classes Of Property And Limitations Of The Last Will

A last will cannot transfer all types of property. Property that is owned in joint tenancy, for example, typically cannot be passed through a last will. The same applies to retirement accounts, transfer accounts, insurance policies and other property that has been adopted into a trust.

These property limitations will vary depending on specific circumstances; therefore, consumers should meet with an estate planning lawyer in San Deigo to explore which properties need to be protected by a trust.

Estate Tax Issues

A last will cannot address estate tax issues for the federal and state-level tax commissions. Instead, when an estate is valued at a specific amount, the estate must pay applicable taxes.

Probate Court And Administration Of The Estate

Probate court is an estate planning procedure that the state will oversee. This is what executes the will and helps administer the assets within that will in accordance with the instructions left to the courts and the executor.

Probate, however, is a lengthy, costly process that most individuals do not want to encounter. However, the last will and testament cannot help loved ones avoid the process of probate. Instead, the testator would need to transfer their assets into a trust if they wish for their estate to forgo the process of the probate court.

Issues With Children And Special Needs

Children with special needs are not adequately addressed in most estate plans that only contain the last will. Instead, a child must have a special needs trust that addresses their care concerns, financial compensation, and other areas that the last will is not complicated enough to fulfill.

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