A Last Will and Testament is a commonly used estate planning document. If you have a Will, you can use it to name your estate executor, state what property each heir will receive, and name a guardian for your children. There are several things your Last Will and Testament cannot do.
Deal with Certain Types of Property
Although your Will allows you to leave assets to chosen beneficiaries there are some types of property you cannot leave to your heirs. If own a piece of property with someone else either by joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety you cannot pass your share of the property onto anyone besides the other property owner. Even if you do not state it in your Will, that person will inherit your share.
Any property that you have titled in the name of Trust cannot be distributed by dictate of your Last Will and Testament. You can only pass on property that is solely in your name.
If you have any payable on death accounts or life insurance policies, you cannot use your Will to state or change a beneficiary. You must use your beneficiary designation form to make changes.
Cover Special Circumstances
Although you can leave an inheritance to your loved ones with your Will, you cannot leave an inheritance to your pet. You may leave an inheritance to your pet’s caregiver to cover food and medical expenses.
You also cannot use your Will to create a plan for a Special Needs loved one. If that person is an adult, the inheritance will be directly handed over. If you would prefer to allow for a slow dissemination of inheritance funds, you may want to use a Special Needs Trust.
Lower Estate Taxes
Your Last Will and Testament cannot be used to lower the estate taxes your estate will owe after your passing. This is because all property included in your Will is fully owned by you and therefore is taxable.
Your Will cannot avoid probate. All property passed to heirs through a Will must endure probate in order to move the property into the name of the recipient.
Certain Conditional Gifts
Inheritances you leave in your Last Will and Testament cannot include some special conditions. For example, you cannot require a loved one to divorce in order to inherit. You may be able to leave funds with the stipulation that they be used for college, but there is no real way for this to be enforced.