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5 Limitations Of Wills

On behalf of Block Legal Services, LLC posted in Wills on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Wills can be valuable for estate planning. However, many people think that they are more effective than they actually are. The truth is that wills have many limitations that you should be aware of before creating your estate plan. Here are five of them:

1. Wills Do Not Prevent Probate

A will does not keep an estate out of probate. In fact, wills are only used in probate. Probate is a public court process that can be complex, time-consuming, and often expensive. Most people would prefer to prevent having their families go through it.

2. Wills Do Not Have Power Over All Assets

There are assets that wills do not have power over. Any asset that passes outside of the probate process will not be affected at all by what a will says. For example, a jointly-held bank account may pass directly to the joint account holder regardless of any other instructions on how the money was to be used.

3. Wills Do Not Protect You In The Event Of Incapacity

A will does not take effect until after death. It does nothing in the event that an illness or injury causes a person to become incapacitated and unable to make decisions. It does not provide instructions about medical treatment or other end-of-life issues.

4. Wills Are Not A Good Place For Funeral Instructions

The focus of a will is really to dictate which assets will pass on to which beneficiaries. It is not unusual for weeks to pass until it is even read, meaning that any funeral instructions within will have been missed.

5. Wills Do Not Stop Beneficiaries from Fighting

Even though the goal of a will might be to put everything in writing so that the beneficiaries will not fight about things, the unfortunate truth is that disagreements can still come up. The best way to help avoid conflicts like this is to thoroughly understand the options that you have and the consequences of your decisions.

There Are Other Estate Planning Tools That Can Do What Wills Cannot

While it is important to understand the weaknesses of a will, you should also be aware that there are other estate planning tools that can do what a will cannot. The key is to ensure that you work with an attorney who will take the time to understand your objectives and build your estate plan around them so it does everything you want it to do.

At Block Legal Services, I create customized estate plans that may include wills, trusts and other estate planning mechanisms. I am committed to designing the right estate plan for you.