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Examples of What A Will Does Not Do

  • When you own an asset “jointly” with someone else, your Will does not transfer ownership of that asset, unless the other joint owner(s) has died before you. If you die before the other joint owner(s), they automatically inherit that asset, despite what your Will might say about it. This is true of any Real Estate, Bank Accounts, Stock Certificates, Mutual Funds, Annuities or any other asset which you own as a Joint Tenant. If you own Real Estate as a “Tenant by the Entirety” or “Joint Tenant”, the same rules apply. If you own Real Estate as a “Tenant in Common”, your Will transfers only that fraction of the Real Estate which you own, whether or not the other tenant(s) in common is still alive. For example, if two individuals own real estate as tenants in common, each of them will transfer one-half ownership in their real estate by their Wills.
  • Your Will does not transfer assets for which you have designated a named beneficiary who is still alive at your death. Therefore, if your Bank Accounts, Stock Accounts, Mutual Funds, Individual Retirement Accounts, 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s, Pension Plans, Annuities, Life Insurance Policies or other assets have an i/t/f (in trust for), POD (Payable on Death), TOD (Transfer on Death) or other beneficiary designation on them, those assets will be inherited by those named beneficiaries at your death, automatically, so long as they are alive. There are minor exceptions to these rules, in that some assets may provide “contractually” that a beneficiary can be changed by a Will.  Attempting to make such designations by Will is, at best, going to cause confusion and delay in the administration of your estate, and, at worst, is going to result in complex and costly Litigation (a Lawsuit).
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Wills in General

Examples of WHAT A WILL CAN DO

Examples of WHAT A WILL DOES NOT DO

Minimizing Challenges to your Will

 

The Witecki Law Office
(518) 372-2827
8 South Church Street
Schenectady, NY 12305
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