It’s something that we see happen too often as an estate planning attorney team, even though it doesn’t fully protect people—relying on a will alone for an estate plan. Wills can do a lot to help you prepare your estate, and for many people, they are sufficient to cover everything. But many people who think that their estates are protected by a last will and testament often leave their families and beneficiaries with a lot of work after they depart.
Here are five reasons that a will alone may not be enough for your situation.
A Will Must Be Validated by a Judge during Probate for It to Go into Effect
If you only have a will as part of your estate plan, your estate will still have to go through probate. The probate process is lengthy, expensive, and public, not to mention that your will could be invalidated if you didn’t take the proper precautions when writing it.
A Will Won’t Allow You to Make Conditional Gifts
In some cases, you might want to leave money to a loved one while ensuring that certain conditions are met. Whether you want to protect a loved one with an addiction problem or just want to set aside some money for your child’s college education, you can’t make a conditional gift with a will alone. Ask your estate planning attorney the best way to make a conditional gift.
A Will Doesn’t Protect any of Your Loved Ones with Special Needs
If you have any loved ones who need special care after you are gone, having a will in place isn’t going to be enough to protect their best interests. Instead, you should set up a guardianship for them so that you can state who you want to care for them and what their special needs are. It is critical that you speak to an estate planning attorney about what you need to do to protect your loved one with special needs.
A Will Might Not Be Enough to Protect Your Estate from Taxes
While Florida does not have an estate tax, your estate could still be subject to federal taxes after you are no longer around. The federal estate and gift tax cutoff in 2019 was $11.4 million for individuals and $22.8 million for couples, which might seem like a lot to some. But when you take into consideration all the assets that you own, you might be closer to the threshold than you think.
A Will Won’t Guarantee Your Funeral Follows Your Wishes
Most people have specific wishes that they would like their families to carry out when they are gone. Funeral arrangements are included in these. Because your family will most likely hold your funeral before looking at your will, including your wishes for your funeral in your will isn’t the best idea.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney to Learn Whether You Need More than a Simple Will
Need an expert to take a look at your estate so you can protect yourself and your family? At Casal & Moreno, we will do everything in our power to help you find the estate planning solution that fits your needs. Contact us today.