Your Will Doesn’t Cover All Your Assets

Will docThe danger of thinking that your Will covers the transfer of all your assets at your death is that the distribution of your assets may not end up as you intended.

Your Minnesota Will covers only what is known as your “probate assets”. If your Will provides that each of your 3 children is to inherit one-third of your estate, each child will inherit one-third of your “probate assets” only.

Stated another way, the wording of your Will has no impact on assets that are considered “non-probate assets”, and your non-probate assets may be a significant portion of your estate.

People who think they are finished with their estate planning once they have a Will in hand may end up with an unhappy result. The non-probate assets need to be cared for also.

Non-probate assets in Minnesota include jointly held assets, bank accounts held as P.O.D. (payable on death) accounts and securities accounts held as T.O.D. (transfer on death) accounts. Non-probate assets also include any asset for which you designate a beneficiary — such as life insurance and retirement plan benefits (unless you name “my estate” as the beneficiary).

Other types of non-probate assets include assets titled to the trustees of your revocable living trust, and Minnesota real estate for which a transfer on death deed (TODD) has been recorded with the relevant Minnesota county prior to your death.

For example, if you name one of your 3 children as a joint owner of your bank account, that child is in position to inherit not only inherit his or her one-third of your probate assets, but also all of the balance that remains in the bank account upon your death. Such a result could easily upset your other children who may feel that they are being cheated.

Consult with an estate planning lawyer to review all of your assets — both probate and non-probate — to help you understand how you might best achieve the end result that you desire.

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Disclaimer: This Blog is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, please seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in the state where you live. Wittenburg Law does not expressly or implicitly warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the Blog’s contents. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading this Blog. If you are interested in Wittenburg Law’s representation of you, you must contact Wittenburg Law for a determination of whether your matter is one for which Wittenburg Law is willing and able to accept representation of you.

Bonnie Wittenburg, Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC, 601 Carlson Parkway, Suite 1050, Minnetonka, MN 55305         952-649-9771