3 Issues You Should Discuss With An Estate Planning Lawyer

Law Blog

A misconception you may have heard is how only those with many assets need to deal with estate planning. This is simply not true, since many people have pensions, life insurance policies, or personal preferences about who assets will go to after they pass away. Here are 3 issues you should discuss with an estate planning attorney to ensure that all your basics are covered in your plan.

Understanding What Can and Cannot Be Transferred In A Will

A will is crucial to have when dealing with how your assets will be divided, but not all assets can be transferred through a will. This includes any money that you have in your IRA account, 401(k) account, or an account that is payable upon your death. Bonds and stocks can also be held in an account that transfers upon your death. If you have a living trust, assets that are in the trust will override what you have written down in your will.

You'll need to meet with your lawyer to find out if you have any conflicts with items in your will and living trust, and if you are using the proper documents to divide those specific assets.

Having Pensions Transfer To Your Spouse

While most pensions will automatically go to a spouse, you should be aware that there can be restrictions on if a pension can transfer at all. Talk to a representative that manages your pension and verify if it can be transferred after you pass away.

If it is determined that a spouse is able to receive pension payments, you should make sure that they are the beneficiary on record with the company that manages your pension. Complications can happen where a divorce has occurred and the beneficiary of the pension was never updated. This causes the pension to go to the former spouse, even if the divorce occurred many years prior the death of the pension holder.

Setting Up Bequests or Trusts

Bequests can be left to anyone, and when the person you want to leave an inheritance for is a minor, you are able to put conditions on the inheritance if they are legal. For instance, some people like to leave money to grandchildren that is given on their birthdays, money specifically for the use to go to college, or for someone's mortgage down payment. Your lawyer can help you set up these bequests and trusts so that those that you want to give assets to can receive them immediately instead of going through the lengthy probate process. 


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