A last will is a crucial legal document that lets you distribute your assets to the people and causes you care about when you die. Without one, Illinois intestacy laws would dictate who gets what, and you might not like this.
However, you cannot include everything in your name on a will. Understanding what you can include in your will as well as what you cannot is a crucial part of the estate planning process. The last thing you want is to invest time and resources in a document that will eventually be challenged on grounds of inadmissibility.
Assets that you co-own with someone else
Any property that you jointly own with someone else will most likely pass down to the surviving co-owner upon your death. This arrangement is known as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. For instance, if you co-own stocks in a jointly-held brokerage account with your spouse, then they will automatically become the sole owner of the stocks in question upon your death.
Assets with designated beneficiaries
Most financial accounts (life insurance policies, pension plans and retirement accounts as well as bank accounts) are usually transferable or payable on death. Such assets are directly paid to the named beneficiaries, which makes including them in your will unnecessary. However, if you wish to make a clarification on these assets, then you can capture such information in a letter of instruction. Including these assets in your will can be irksome at times. As such, instead of having them in your will, you are better off assigning them beneficiary designations.
Figuring out what you can and cannot include in your will is just as crucial as figuring out what you will leave behind for each beneficiary. Find out how you can create a will that will ensure that your beneficiaries inherit without much trouble.