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Four Things You Cannot Do Via Will in Your Illinois Estate Plan

 Posted on April 22, 2021 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyNo matter what your age, a will can offer numerous benefits as part of a comprehensive estate plan. As the AARP notes, your will serves as a roadmap for stating your intentions, distributing your possessions to beneficiaries, and wrapping up your final affairs. With a will, you maintain control over your assets instead of being subject to Illinois intestacy laws and reduce the potential for disputes among surviving loved ones, saving time and money in the estate administration process.

What you may not know is there are a few objectives you cannot accomplish by creating a will. This can lead to surprises if you expect to achieve certain goals, so it is wise to consult with an estate planning attorney regarding the details. Here is an overview of four things you cannot do through your will.

1. Evade Creditors

If you incurred debts or related legal obligations during your lifetime, you will not be able to get rid of them through your will. Your creditors can still pursue your estate, and in some cases, specific beneficiaries, to obtain payment. The person you name as executor cannot avoid debts, because they will be required to provide notice to creditors and pay verified claims.

2. Pass Joint Ownership Interests

You can make specific bequests of real estate or personal property to beneficiaries through your will, but you can only pass assets that you own individually. If you own property with someone else, it is likely that your interest will pass to the surviving owner(s) upon your death. For instance, many deeds to real estate will title ownership as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.” In such a situation, the interest passes by operation of law–not your will.

3. Override Beneficiary Designations

When you purchase a life insurance policy, you will designate a beneficiary who will be entitled to the proceeds upon your death. You are unable to supersede this arrangement through your will, though you can make changes to your designated beneficiary through the insurance company. Note that this is also the case with certain bank accounts when they are set up with a “pay-on-death” beneficiary.

4. Appoint a Guardian for Minor Children

It is true that you can name someone to act as guardian for your children if you die, but the appointment is not automatic. The court will still review the person appointed as guardian through testamentary designation, to ensure the arrangement suits the child’s best interests.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Wills and Estate Planning Lawyer

These are just a few things that you cannot do through a will, but there are many other objectives you can achieve through proper estate planning. For more information, please contact A. Traub & Associates by calling 630-426-0196. We can schedule a consultation with a dedicated Wheaton estate planning attorney who will review your needs and advise you on your estate planning options.



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