An estate plan can be rendered ineffectual if the different ways that assets can be distributed contradict with one another.
A recent example of a common problem was discussed in the NWI Times. The story began with the creation of instructions in a Will that the contents of a bank account should be divided between the Decedent’s three children. However, that provision could be overridden if that bank account says it should be “payable on death” (POD) to only one of the children, according to the NWI Times in "Estate Planning: Catching up on reader's questions."
This conflict arises more often than one would think. When people open bank accounts, they often make them payable on death at the bank's suggestion. Unfortunately, the bank’s representative usually does not have the time or the knowledge to ask the person whether such a designation is consistent with the person’s estate plan. Moreover, after consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney, the person ultimately wants to do something different with the account when they create their Will, and that leads to conflicts and problems. The beneficiary who gets the bank account through the payable on death designation is under no legal obligation to heed the wishes stated in the Decedent’s Will.
Proper coordination of the title to one’s assets is an integral part of any estate plan, and an experienced estate planning attorney can conduct a periodic review of your estate plan in order to avoid any such conflicts.
Reference: NWI Times (May 27, 2018) "Estate Planning: Catching up on reader's questions."