Wills and Trusts in Northbridge MA: What can and can’t be Done

by | Feb 26, 2014 | Attorney

Wills are useful, inexpensive documents that address the estate planning needs of most people, but they do not work for every situation. Below, we will list some things that you won’t be able to accomplish by writing Wills And Trust in Northbridge MA.

Leaving Behind Certain Property Types

You cannot leave the following kinds of property in your will:

Any property held jointly with someone else, either “by the entirety” or “with right of survivorship”. At the time of your death, your share in the property automatically passes to the surviving owner; a will leaving your share to someone else won’t be valid unless all co-owners die at the same time (such as in a car accident or plane crash).

  • Property put into a living trust
  • The proceeds of life insurance policies with beneficiaries
  • Money in IRAs, 401(k)s, or other retirement accounts where there is a named beneficiary
  • Bonds and stocks listed on a TOD (transfer on death) form
  • Money in a POD (payable on death) account

Leaving Funerary Instructions

Wills usually aren’t discovered or read until a time after death, which is too late to be useful to those making funeral arrangements. Instead of leaving funeral instructions in your will, write a separate document that details your wishes–and tell the executor of your estate where it can be found when needed.

Reducing Estate Taxes

If you believe that your estate will owe federal taxes, you should ask a lawyer how you can cut tax liability. Wills won’t help you avoid estate taxes; however, various trusts can postpone or reduce tax bills.

Staying out of Probate Court

Any property left in a will usually spends several months in probate court before it is distributed to the beneficiary named in the will.

Putting Stipulations on Gifts

There are certain legal limits to what can be done in Wills And Trust Northbridge MA. For instance, you can’t leave a gift that depends on the religious conversion, divorce or marriage of a beneficiary. However, you can still exert a lesser influence, such as leaving money for a grandchild when/if they decide to attend college. Making conditional gifts is difficult, because those conditions are hard to enforce.

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