Things You Should Not Include in Your Will

A will is an essential legal document that outlines how a person’s assets will be distributed after their death. While most people understand the importance of having a will, many need to realize that there are some things they should not include in their will. This blog will discuss what you should exclude from your will.

Funeral Arrangements

One thing that you should not include in your will is your funeral arrangements. While it may seem like a good idea to spell out your wishes for your funeral, the reality is that your will may not be read until after your funeral has taken place. It is best to make arrangements for your funeral separately and communicate your wishes to your loved ones.

Passwords and Login Information

Another thing that you should not include in your will is your passwords and login information for your online accounts. Including this information in your will is not advisable because it is a public document that anyone can access. Instead, it is recommended that you create a separate document containing this information and store it in a secure location.

Conditional Gifts

Conditional gifts are gifts that are contingent on specific events or circumstances. For example, you may want to leave money to your son only if he graduates from college. However, conditional gifts can create legal problems and confusion. It is best to avoid conditional gifts altogether.

Illegal Instructions

It is important to note that your will is a legal document; therefore, it cannot be used to carry out illegal instructions. Such instructions will not be honored and may even result in legal consequences. For example, you cannot use your will to instruct someone to commit a crime or to distribute illegal drugs.

Jointly-Owned Assets

If you own assets jointly with someone else, such as a house or a bank account, you cannot leave these assets to someone else in your will. Jointly-owned assets automatically pass to the surviving owner upon your death, regardless of what your will says.

Gifts to Pets

While it may be tempting to leave a gift to your beloved pet in your will, it is not legally binding. Pets are considered property and, as such, cannot inherit property. Instead, you can create a pet trust or make arrangements with a trusted friend or family member to care for your pet after your death.

Retirement Accounts and Life Insurance Policies

Retirement accounts and life insurance policies are governed by their own rules and regulations and, therefore, cannot be distributed through a will. Instead, it would be best to name beneficiaries for these accounts and policies separately.

Instructions for the Care of a Disabled Family Member

If you have a disabled family member who requires special care and attention, it is not advisable to include instructions for their care in your will. Instead, creating a special needs trust would be best, allowing you to provide for their care without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.

Business Ownership

If you own a business, it is not advisable to include instructions for transferring ownership in your will. Instead, it would help if you created a succession plan that outlines how your business will be managed and owned after your death.

Digital Assets

Finally, it is important to note that digital assets, such as social media accounts, online banking accounts, and digital photos, cannot be distributed through a will. Instead, you should create a separate document that outlines how you want your digital assets to be managed after your death.

A will is an important legal document that should be carefully crafted to ensure your wishes are fulfilled after your death. However, there are some things that you should not include in your will, such as funeral arrangements, passwords, conditional gifts, illegal instructions, jointly-owned assets, gifts to pets, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, instructions for the care of a disabled family member, business ownership, and digital assets. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your will accurately reflects your wishes and will be carried out smoothly after your passing.

It is also important to note that creating a will is not a one-time event. As your life changes, your will may need to be updated to reflect those changes. For example, if you get married, divorced, have children, or acquire new assets, you may need to update your will accordingly.

In addition, it is important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create your will. An attorney can provide valuable guidance and ensure your will is legally binding and accurately reflects your wishes.

In conclusion, a will is a critical document that can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. However, there are certain things that you should refrain from including in your will. By avoiding these mistakes and working with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your will accurately reflects your wishes and will be carried out smoothly after your passing.