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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / One Step for Determining if a Will is Enough for Your Estate Plan

One Step for Determining if a Will is Enough for Your Estate Plan


Most people need, at minimum, a will in their estate plan to ensure a smooth transition of assets to limit stress and confusion among loved ones, and to verify that an appointed guardian has been established for a minor. However, a will may not go far enough to help you accomplish all of your estate planning intentions. This simple step can help you to identify whether or not you need additional support from an estate planning attorney. The first thing to look at is how your assets are titled.

You’ll want to divide these into three buckets, the first that are those titled in your name alone, the second being those titled jointly, and the third, those that are associated by beneficiary designation.

For a married person, if your assets such as your investment and bank accounts or house are titled jointly with your spouse, then those would pass automatically to your spouse on your death. If you have things such as a 403(b) or IRA or other retirement asset account or a life insurance policy, so long as you have a beneficiary filed with those companies, they will probably pass without much difficulty. You’ll want to verify that you’ve completed this form recently, however.

However, if you are a widow, widower, or are single or divorced, you’ll want to verify that you have retitled assets in your own name and clarify whether or not you have named backup or secondary beneficiaries. You can consider issues such as whether you want your children to inherit things equally on your passing. If you want adult grandchildren to receive assets directly with your children, you may also want to create a trust. Finding a knowledgeable attorney in Virginia Beach for estate planning can help answer many of these questions and minimize your stress during this process.

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