With much experience behind them, will lawyers in Orange County often feel like they’ve “seen it all.”  This is good news for clients, because it means that the attorney can help you prepare for situations that you might never have expected otherwise.  One surprise that people hear from their estate planning lawyers is that you can’t use your will to pass on all types of property.  While it seems like you should just be able to put it all down on paper and be done with it, there are some things that must go through different channels.

  • Living Trusts – Property that you’ve put into a living trust must remain with the trust and be administered according to that trust.  It can’t then be named in a will with an expectation that the will can supersede the trust.
  • Joint Tenancy – Property that is owned with someone else cannot be passed on.  In these cases, the surviving co-owners will receive your share.  This can be a major concern, so you want to work with your will lawyer in Orange County to fully understand state laws regarding this type of property.
  • Life Insurance – Of course you want your life insurance policy to pay out to one or more beneficiaries, but that is handled through the policy itself, not with the will.  If your insurance policy names a beneficiary, the will cannot be used to leave the funds to someone else.
  • Other Property with Beneficiaries – Basically, if you have a payable-on-death bank account, vehicles or stocks held in beneficiary, or some kind of retirement plan where a beneficiary is named, you do not use the will to pass these on to someone else.  If you want to change the beneficiary, this needs to be done through the institution that holds the account or policy.

You will want your heirs to know about these items, of course, and your will lawyer in Orange County will make sure that they are all included in your plan; however, they won’t be passed through your will.  If you have questions or concerns about this fact, we invite you to schedule an appointment at our Orange County law firm to ensure that your end-of-life wishes are honored.