What Can and Cannot Be Included in a Will?

 Posted on April 26, 2023 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth, Texas Estate Planning LawyersAs you explore your estate planning options, it is important to understand the advantages and limitations of various estate planning tools. You have so many different options at your disposal for asset distribution and incapacity planning, and it can sometimes be difficult to understand the purpose that each tool serves. In this blog, we will discuss what a last will and testament can accomplish as well as purposes for which a will is insufficient.

Texas Last Will and Testament

A will is considered the most fundamental aspect of an estate plan. For some people, a will may be enough to satisfy all of their estate planning needs. The main purpose of a will is to explain how your worldly possessions should be distributed to beneficiaries after your death. Who should take ownership of your home? Who should receive important family heirlooms such as jewelry? Your will gives you the opportunity to describe exactly how your property should be distributed. Without a will, your property will be distributed based on Texas law, which may not reflect your wishes.

Another crucial purpose of a will is to designate a guardian for your children. If you and your child's other parent pass away before the children are adults, who do you want to take care of the children? If you do not designate a guardian, a judge who you have never met will make the decision for you. Most parents feel much more comfortable deciding on a guardian themselves. Ideally, it will never come to this, and you will lead a long, healthy life, but it is important to be prepared for the worst.

Potential Limitations and Disadvantages of a Will

A will alone may not be able to meet all of your estate planning needs. For example, transferring assets using a will can sometimes incur unfavorable tax consequences that could be avoided with other types of estate planning documents. Furthermore, a will can only be used to transfer assets that are titled in your name alone. You cannot use a will to transfer assets titled in joint ownership. Also, keep in mind that a will cannot be used to designate beneficiaries for life insurance or retirement accounts.

If you wish to have greater control over how your property is distributed and used by beneficiaries, you may want to consider a trust instead. A trust can be set up exactly how you choose, and you can dictate when a beneficiary receives assets. For example, you may wish to leave an inheritance to a grandchild that they only receive once they graduate from college. Trusts can also help minimize or avoid the probate process, which can be expensive and frustrating for your surviving loved ones.

Contact our Fort Worth Wills and Trusts Lawyers

The exact estate planning tools that you should use will depend on your financial situation, your family situation, and your personal wishes. Let our Fort Worth estate planning attorney help you explore your options and choose the estate planning tools that best meet your needs while avoiding adverse tax consequences or financial loss period call phone for a confidential consultation.



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