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What Does a Will Do and Not Do?

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Although a Last Will and Testament is an important document to establish, there are many other parts of the estate planning process that need to be finalized. Meaning, your Will does not cover everything that is needed to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of when you pass on. Read on to discover what a Will can do and what a Will cannot do, and how a seasoned Rockland County Will attorney at The Lauterbach Law Firm can help you navigate through this.

What does a Will do?

Simply put, a Will allows for certain property to be distributed the way in which you desire when you pass on. The other things that a Will can do include the following:

  • A Will can leave your property to people whom the state’s intestate laws would not include, such as stepchildren, godchildren, friends, charities, etc.
  • A Will can name a guardian to care for your minor children.
  • A Will can name a trusted person to manage certain property that you leave to your minor children.
  • A Will can designate an executor, or otherwise known as the person who ensures that your requests are fulfilled.

What does a Will not do?

Importantly, there are certain requests that you cannot legally make in your Will. For one, you cannot distribute property that is controlled by beneficiary designations or titling that passes outside your probate estate. This property passes automatically when you pass on. Examples of such read as follows:

  • Your property titled in joint names with rights of survivorship.
  • Your property payable-on-death bank accounts.
  • Your life insurance.
  • Your retirement plans and accounts (i.e., pension, IRA, or 401k).
  • Your employee death benefits.

In addition, below are other things that a Will cannot do:

  • A Will cannot provide coverage to your beneficiaries with special needs.
  • A Will cannot designate your business interests.
  • A Will cannot designate your stocks and bonds.
  • A Will cannot designate anything you do not want going through probate (i.e., personal property or household items).
  • A Will cannot grant your personal wishes or desires.

How can an attorney help me with my Will?

New York State does not require you to retain the services of a legal professional when creating a Will. But regardless, we recommend that you still seek the assistance of a competent Rockland County wills, trusts, and estates attorney from our firm. This is because, as you can see, the rules surrounding what you can and cannot include in your Will can get tricky. And the same applies for other documents that you require in your estate plan. So, to ensure that you have a legitimate plan, you must give us a call today.

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