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Previous Arrangements may Override Your Will

 Posted on November 05, 2012 in Estate Execution

Having a will may not always be enough, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. If you have made other arrangements, they may take precedence over your will. For instance, if you own a home jointly with rights of survivorship, the owners get the property when you pass on, no matter what your will says. Additionally, any property that has a named beneficiary (e.g. retirement and savings accounts, annuities and life insurance) goes to the beneficiary despite what your will dictates.

When making a will, it is very important to go over the details with an experienced estate planning attorney. You should bring your attorney a list of all your assets with named beneficiaries. If you want to change the beneficiary of any of your assets, the documents dictating the disposition of that asset need to be updated. If the documents have been signed by you and other people, it is necessary to get their permission first.

Property that is individually owned and without a named beneficiary passes by will. It is possible that all of your assets have named beneficiaries or are held jointly with rights of survivorship. In this case, you may not have any property that would pass by will. However, a will could become useful in any case. For example, you can name beneficiaries in your will for assets that you do not have yet but expect to get later. You can specify guardianship arrangements for your children, and you can define how your personal property will be distributed.

It is best to sort out the details of your will with the help of legal experts. If you or a family member is considering drawing up a will, please contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Wheaton, Illinois today.

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