A last will and testament is a valuable document when correctly planned. It can alleviate many disagreements about money and property and help ensure that private wealth is divided as desired. Attorneys in College Station TX recommend that anyone without a will should execute one while there is plenty of time with the help of a good estate lawyer. It sounds easy to list valuables and designate who should receive them, yet the process is not that simple with a number of exclusions to handle and other rules about property distribution to consider.

Common Mistakes and Assumptions To Avoid

When a last will and testament is not properly written, the entire document may be null and void or cause situations where the court must divide the property. Knowing what can – and cannot – be included in a will to make the entire document legal should be followed as it is written to prevent such problems from happening.

  • Funeral Instructions – Surprisingly, many people put funeral instructions in a will without realizing that such information is usually read after the burial which leaves no way for any special instructions to be known when they would be needed. Any directives should be documented in something like a living will.
  • Pets – Estates left to pets often create legal problems, as pets cannot own property. Better options are to leave the pet in the care of a trusted person or facility and provide property or money for such care. In some states, a trust can be created with a pet as the beneficiary.
  • Care of A Special Needs Person – This information should be included in a trust with the person as the beneficiary. A Special Needs Trust specifically entails the documentation of the type of care that person requires and other arrangements that should be made as well.
  • Gift Conditions – Property gifted with certain conditions such as “at 21st Birthday” or “graduating from college” is acceptable. Beyond these kinds of conditions, it is almost impossible to enforce conditions or ensure gifts are given once any parameters have been met.
  • Avoiding Taxes or Probate – Wills do not avoid taxation and are subject to probate before property is released. If reducing taxation and avoiding probate is a goal, trusts are a better option and should be discussed with experienced estate attorneys in College Station Texas.

Property That Cannot Be Included in a Will

Certain property is subject to specific dispersal rules, even if it is written into a will to be handled a different way. For many of these situations, trusts will usually provide a better option.

  • Beneficiary Already Named – This includes but is not limited to stocks, bonds, life insurance, and retirement proceeds, Payable-on-Death accounts and living trusts should not be included in a will. Trust proceeds disburse before wills and beneficiaries can be changed beforehand.
  • Jointly Owned Tenancy Property – Any tenancy property that is co-owned is immediately granted to the surviving tenant, regardless of what a will may indicate. Situations such as this should be handled ahead of time to ensure that property is distributed as desired.

Certain things should not be included in a will to ensure proper dispersal of property. Seek the help of attorneys in College Station to explain the differences between wills and trusts and more importantly, advise on the best way to see that money and property is disbursed as desired and certain estate handling problems avoided.

Call Hoelscher, Lipsey, Elmore and Poole – Estate Attorneys in College Station!

Let experienced College Station attorneys handle your will – call (979) 846-4726 today!