Most people who consider estate planning focus on the contents of their wills. While this is an important consideration, many fail to consider that a will only functions with respect to assets that become part of the probate estate. In many cases, assets will pass outside of the probate process. Among other things, this can happen based on:
- Beneficiary designation forms (e.g., for your IRA and life insurance);
- How accounts are owned (titled) (e.g., a bank account that is payable on death (POD) to a child, joint accounts, etc.); and
- Legal documents (e.g., a deed where your house is owned jointly with a spouse or heir).
It is therefore important to coordinate all of the different “transfers” to be sure that your intent is really met. In many situations, it will be beneficial to have a mix of assets that pass through and outside of probate. This is one critical example why merely procuring a will often will not address your real planning needs. A more comprehensive approach is required. Ideally, this should be coordinated not only with your estate planning attorney, but with all of your financial advisors and professionals.
Contact the Law Office of Brandon L. Campbell to develop a comprehensive plan that considers all of your assets and needs.