To learn more about what you should exclude in your will, continue reading and reach out to our skilled Washtenaw County wills attorney. Our legal team is on your side.

What should I avoid putting in my will?

You should keep in mind a number of things not to include when crafting your will. Some involve the following:

1. Trust property. A trust is a separate means that can be used to distribute your assets. It is essential to evade inconsistencies and not to put any terms in your will that the trust will handle and distribute on its own. Trusts are a typical estate planning option that avoids probate. When you title property into the trust, it becomes a part of the trust’s rules, which are put in the trust document instead of the will.

2. Assets with named beneficiaries. Some assets and financial accounts are payable or transferable on death. They are assigned or paid out immediately to the named beneficiaries, which makes putting them in a will not essential. Instead, you can include information about these assets in your letter of instruction.

Rather than putting these assets in your will, give them beneficiary designations instead:

  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage or investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts and pension plans
  • A life insurance policy

3. Jointly-owned property. If you have property that is jointly owned with another individual, you will want to note that it will almost always immediately pass to the co-owner after you die, which is why you should avoid putting this in your will. For example, if you and your sibling own stocks in a jointly owned brokerage account, then they will resume owning the account and its investments after you pass away. This is referred to as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.

4. Conditional gifts and bequests. In a will, you can be clear about who accepts what, yet, if you attach certain conditions, it may not work since no one can legally enforce the terms so you should leave these kinds of desires out when composing a will. If you have clear details about how someone should use their inheritance, whether they are a spendthrift or someone with special needs, you will want to open a trust that can provide you with more control over your beneficiaries, even from after you pass away.

To learn more about what not to include in your will, do not wait to reach out to our skilled estate planning attorneys today. Our legal team is on your side.

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