Many people assume that they need to include all of their assets in their will in order for those assets to go to their rightful heirs. However, there are some assets that don’t have to be included in a will because they are handled in other ways.
It’s imperative that you take a complete inventory of all your assets prior to creating your estate plan. This helps to ensure that you have everything covered. It can also help you identify which assets should be reviewed to make sure that they have the correct beneficiaries.
Assets you shouldn’t include in your estate plans
Assets that have a transfer on death designation shouldn’t be placed in your estate plans. This is because they’re handled according to the transfer on death instructions on the account — which bypasses probate entirely. Some examples of these accounts include:
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Certificates of deposits
You also don’t need to include insurance policies since they have beneficiaries listed who will get the funds when you pass away. The same is true for retirement accounts and annuities, which are also handled according to the beneficiary assignments. It’s imperative that anyone who’s creating an estate plan remember to double-check any assets that might have a transfer on death designation to ensure that they are correct. Nothing written in your will can countermand those designations.
Making your estate plans can be rather complicated. Learning more about your legal options before you begin is always wise.