Do I Need a Will If I Have An Estate Plan?

You may have an estate plan in place. Your assets are designated for transfer, and your retirement accounts are all earmarked to go to different beneficiaries.

But what about a Will?

Do you need one?

Even if you have all of these other areas of concern covered, you want to have a Will in place. Dividing up specific possessions – which family members receive which family heirlooms, for example – can avoid a lot of strife and misunderstanding after you go.

It may sound absurd, but some sets of brothers and sisters have had horrible, lasting disagreements over treasured possessions left behind. Any personal items that may have sentimental value should really have a destination. You should make this formal, and have it listed in your Will. It does not need to take a long time, and you may not need to go into great detail, but you should create a Will to clarify your intentions regarding who receives what.

There are other reasons for a Will:

Helping Your Parents

If one of your parents is alive, and you have her (or him) named as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you may think you are doing them a huge favor. But the big payout that could result may disqualify them from receiving government benefits. Setting it up in your estate plan through a Will or Trust to go as a series of payments, and not a single big payout, could prevent this from happening.

Caring For Your Pets

Naming a responsible party to care for your pets could prevent them from going to a shelter. Providing for them and naming a caregiver will ensure that your pets are taken care of.