Estate planning in Michigan can be a complicated process. Some people try to simplify estate planning by putting everything into their will – a huge no-no for estate planning.
Should you list all of your assets in the will?
It’s important to list any assets and their beneficiaries in your will when they haven’t been listed anywhere else. But other assets might be immediately transferrable upon your death, which means there’s no need for you to list them in your estate plan.
Assets that are transferable upon your death would be bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement plans or life insurance policies. It is essential, however, that you name beneficiaries for these assets and update beneficiaries when circumstances change.
Should you list joint properties in your estate?
The short and sweet answer is no, you shouldn’t. Any properties that are jointly owned with another person will automatically go to the co-owner after your death.
Properties that you would jointly own or co-own with someone include things like your house, car, and certain accounts. Most often, you’ll own these with your spouse or business partner.
Can you add terms and conditions to your will?
Specific instructions about what assets should go to who are great for wills. However, adding conditions to the will probably won’t be able to be carried out.
For example, you can say that your goddaughter receives a family heirloom. But you can’t say that the goddaughter receives a family heirloom as long as she gets good grades – this would be better suited for a trust.
Why don’t I want to put these things in a will?
Listing these assets in your will can cause the asset to get dragged into probate court. This means the asset won’t be immediately available to your beneficiaries, making it an emotional and financial drain on your living relatives.