When you take the time to draft a Will, you may accidentally disinherit your beneficiaries from significant portions of your estate by not taking the proper steps to protect your estate in the first place. This is especially true for items that are considered non-probate assets.
An example of a non-probate asset would be a retirement fund or 401(k) plan. Since a surviving spouse will automatically inherit a 401(k), it is imperative that you take the steps to protect that asset—whether or not you want your spouse to inherit it. If you want the account to be given to a child, your spouse will need to file a written document that waives his or her rights to that account. It is important to note that a prenuptial agreement also does not cancel your spouse’s right to your retirement fund.
Another example of a non-probate asset is life insurance. No matter what your will or trust state, the beneficiary listed on your life insurance policy will supersede the beneficiary listed in your estate planning documents. Therefore, it is imperative you consider who is listed on your documents prior to creating your will and change that beneficiary name to the right person ahead of time.
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