Wills are simple, inexpensive ways to address many estates. But they don't do it all. Here are some things that may not be accomplished in a will.
Named Beneficiaries for Certain Kinds of Property
A will can't be used to leave:
- Property you held in joint tenancy with someone else. At death, the deceased's share will automatically belong to the surviving joint tenant(s). A will provision leaving the deceased's share to someone other than the surviving joint tenant, would have no effect unless all joint tenants died simultaneously.
- Property that was transferred to a living trust.
- Proceeds of a life insurance policy for which there is a named beneficiary.
- Money in a pension plan, individual retirement account (IRA), 401(k) plan or other retirement plan.
- Money in a payable-on-death bank account.