A will is the cornerstone of any estate plan. It lets you outline what you wish to happen to your assets when you pass on. Basically, a will lets you state who will get what when you pass on. It also lets you designate a guardian for your minor child.
However, it is important to understand that certain assets do not belong in your will. Here are some of the assets you may not include in your will.
Assets that have named beneficiaries
Some assets are directly transferable upon death. Such assets include life insurance policies, bank and retirement accounts as well as brokerage and investment accounts. These assets are directly paid out to the named beneficiary on death, which makes having them in a will unnecessary.
Most jointly-owned assets will automatically pass on to the co-owner if one party passes on. For instance, if you and your siblings own an investment property, then they will continue owning the property after your passing. This is legally referred to as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. The same applies to assets that are acquired in marriage. Arizona is a community property state, meaning that any asset that is acquired during the marriage will automatically pass on to your spouse when you die.
Conditional gifts and bequests
You can specify how you want your assets to be distributed in your will. However, you cannot attach unenforceable conditions while writing your will. For instance, you cannot indicate in your will that your daughter can only inherit your car IF they will use it for going to school. If you wish to specify how you want your heir to use their inheritance, then you should consider setting up a trust for them.
Drafting a will is one of the most sensible things you can do. Find out how you can write a competent will that can stand the test of time and probate.