Although wills are powerful and necessary estate planning documents, there are some things that wills cannot do.

Understanding these limitations of wills can be essential to figuring out whether you need to put additional estate plans in place now to ensure that your loved ones and estate are protected in the future.

Wills Cannot…

1 – Designate certain property for inheritance.

Knowing the limitations of wills is essential to figuring out whether you need to put additional estate plans in place, trusted Trinidad & Pueblo estate attorneys explain.

Knowing the limitations of wills is essential to figuring out whether you need to put additional estate plans in place, trusted Trinidad & Pueblo estate attorneys explain.

While wills can leave property like homes, vehicles and even family heirlooms to your loved ones, they cannot dictate how the following property will be handled upon your death:

  • Property that has been transferred into a living trust
  • Property that is jointly owned and/or has a beneficiary already designated (such as life insurance policies)
  • Property that has “transfer-on-death” designations (such as stocks and bonds).

The reason that wills cannot deal with the above types of property is that such property already has designated beneficiaries, so anything a will states about this property will be inconsequential (as the standing designation will take precedent over the will in such cases).

2 – Put certain conditions on inheritance.

In fact, while a will can set up a trust that may designate certain property for a beneficiary upon a certain event happening (e.g., like a child turning 18 or 25), wills generally can’t put more specific conditions on inheritance. For example, wills cannot hinge an inheritance on someone changing their religion, spouse, etc.

3 – Get your loved ones out of probate altogether.

Wills can be devised to develop trusts, and the property used to fund these trusts will not have to go through probate. However, other property dealt with in a will that doesn’t already have a beneficiary designation (like a “transfer upon death” designation) will have to go through probate.

So, if you want to help minimize the extent/duration of the probate process for your loved ones, you may want to consider setting up trusts (or other tools).

4 – Leave assets for illegal uses.

Another thing that wills cannot do is designate assets for any illegal uses. Should wills contain such provisions (which is rare), the illegal provision – or possibly even the entire will – can be deemed invalid.

Trinidad & Pueblo Estate Attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth

Are you ready to develop a will or put other estate plans into place? If so, the Trinidad & Pueblo estate attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth are ready to provide you with the highest quality legal services.

Experienced and respected, our Trinidad and Pueblo estate attorneys have been dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the legal system and to favorably resolving their important legal issues since 1972. With our trusted attorneys on your side, you can be confident that you will have experienced help devising the best estate planning solutions for you and your family.

Contact Us

To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.

Categories: Wills