Many people think that if they have a will, then they have an estate plan, and that if they don’t have a will, they don’t have an estate plan. In fact, your estate plan is a mix of a number of decisions you have made. There are situations in which your will could end up controlling nothing at your death. There are other situations in which, even if you don’t have a will, your assets would get distributed quickly, with no court involvement, to exactly the people you wanted.

You will make a number of decisions over the course of your life that impact how your assets would be managed or distributed, but which you do not consider to be estate planning decisions. Jointly purchasing assets, designating beneficiaries to receive certain insurance benefits, retirement accounts, or other assets, your state’s law, and even your marital status will all play a significant role in determining who can manage your affairs for you if you cannot, and who will receive your assets if you pass away. A common problem is that many people do bits and pieces of estate planning here and there, but never think through their plans as one cohesive whole.

In this video, Denver estate planning attorney Dan McKenzie of The McKenzie Law Firm explains that a will is only part of an estate plan. Watch this video to learn more about what a will does and does not do.

If you would like help thinking through your plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us.