What a Will Can (and Cannot) Do


A will is a simple and effective tool at accomplishing a number of goals and estate planning needs, but it can’t do everything. Here are some goals that a properly drafted and executed will can and cannot accomplish.

A will CAN be used:

A will enables you to determine where your property will go, including to people who are or aren’t your heirs rather than letting it go where the intestacy laws of your state dictate it will go if there is no will.

A will enables you to keep property from going to heirs who should not receive it, either because of unfriendly feelings or the fact that they have no need. Similarly, property can be kept from going into large estates where it will serve little purpose other than increasing death taxes for that individual.

A will enables you to increase the share which a spouse may receive to an amount sufficient to provide for his or her needs, or it enables you to decrease the amount a spouse may receive in order to reduce any potential death taxes.

A will enables you to protect beneficiaries that are too young or otherwise not yet able to handle their own finances.

A will permits you to select a guardian for minor children.

A will enables you to select an executor who will be responsible for administering your estate after you’re gone.

A will enables you to waive any bond requirements of a chosen executor which can decrease the usual costs of probate.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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