Wills are just one part of Estate Plans. Wills only control assets that are in one’s sole name and become effective after death. Wills do not control joint accounts or beneficiary designations; upon death, the joint owner/beneficiary receives that asset. Estate Plans also include two legal documents that take effect before you die – power of attorney and “living will” and the plan includes strategies to minimize tax consequences, family gifting to avoid tax, planning for incapacity and Medicaid as well as other factors surrounding death, illness, and your money.
—Mary Kate Speed, Esq., Lambariello, Edwards, Smith, & Speed, LLC