While making a will is a sensible thing to do, some people may not be aware of the assets and property that cannot form part of a will. Certain assets are already earmarked for beneficiaries, and when those are left to different individuals in the will of a Florida resident, the instructions cannot be carried out. To ensure such errors don't sneak into a carefully drafted will, it might be wise to seek professional guidance.
Assets that go to beneficiaries via other means than wills are not subject to probate. One type of property that a person cannot allocate to anybody in a will is a joint tenancy. When property is held by two or more people as joint tenants, the surviving tenant/s automatically get the share of a deceased tenant on his or her death. The share of the deceased person will pass straight to the surviving joint tenant/s without the need to pass through probate.
The trustee will manage any property that is allocated to a beneficiary in a living trust, and leaving those assets to others in a will is inconsistent. The same goes for life insurance and the proceeds of retirement plans that require the appointment of beneficiaries when original documents are signed. Stocks and bonds will also automatically go to the named beneficiaries, as will the proceeds from payable-on-death bank accounts.
When there are inconsistencies in a will, the probate process may take even longer than usual. Florida residents may find that the sensible way to draft wills and other estate planning documents is with the support and advice of an attorney who is experienced in drafting plans that represent the wishes of the client. The lawyer can explain the legal requirements of estate planning documents and protect the interests of the client.
Source: FindLaw, "What Not To Include When Making a Will", Accessed on March 10, 2017