Your estate plan determines what happens to your assets after your death. You want to designate particular property to specific family members or other loved ones.
To implement your estate plan, you need legal documents that specify your desires and control the distribution of your assets. Your assets need to be correctly set up for your will to control their distribution.
When you set up a bank account or investment account, the documents usually include an option for you to designate a person or multiple persons as the owner after your death. If you have financial arrangements that include a payable on death designation, your will does not control the distribution of these items. Likewise, if you name a joint owner on your assets, the accounts will not pass through your probate estate. If you want your will to distribute your financial accounts, you need to ensure that these accounts do not have a payable on death designee or joint owner that is not your estate.
Life insurance policies
Life insurance policies usually require you to designate a beneficiary of the proceeds payable after your death. If you want your estate planning documents to control the distribution of any life insurance proceeds, you will need to name your estate as the policy’s beneficiary. You should also check your retirement assets as these accounts provide for a beneficiary designation.
To ensure your will controls the distribution of your assets, you need to review your accounts to verify they are appropriately titled to go through your probate estate.