What You Should Never Put in Your Will

What You Should Never Put in Your WillCreating a Will is an essential part of any solid estate plan. It enables you to specify your wishes for the assets you leave behind after you pass. When you pass away without a Will in place, the resulting legal process can cause a tremendous amount of stress for your loved ones. Even if you’re young and perfectly healthy, it’s never too early to make an estate plan for the future.

If you were to ask a friend or family member what you should put in your Will, the answer would likely be simple—everything! However, it might actually benefit you to leave certain assets out of your Will. After uploading a video to our Dana and Associates YouTube channel on how to write your Will, we decided to share an easy-to-read guide on what you should never put in your Will.

Here are some of the most important assets to leave out of your Will:

1. Funeral Wishes

Contrary to what you might see in movies, the reading of the Will is not the first thing that happens when a loved one dies. In fact, it usually does not take place until after the funeral. This means that if you state in your Will that you wish for everyone to wear purple to your funeral, your loved ones may be dismayed to learn of your wishes after they all wore black. To ensure that your funeral wishes are adhered to, dictate them on a separate document to leave with the executor of your estate. You can even have a conversation about your plan with your family or loved ones who will likely handle your funeral arrangements.

2.Property in a Trust

Many people choose to avoid probate by setting up a Living Trust. Because the Trust operates independently from the Will, it’s important to do your due diligence and make sure you don’t also mention the same property in your Will. If you wind up with inconsistencies between your Will and your Trust, it will likely result in the extension of an already lengthy probate process.

3. Assets with Named Beneficiaries

What You Should Never Put in Your WillAssets like bank accounts, pension plans, and life insurance policies are transferable on death through beneficiary designations. This means that the assets are distributed to the named beneficiaries upon your passing, so there is no need to include them in your Will. By assigning beneficiary designations for these types of assets, you can avoid adding them to your Will and reduce the risk of inconsistencies. However, you need to check and update your beneficiary designations every 3 to 5 years, just as you would your estate plan. If your beneficiary designations are outdated, your bank account or life insurance could end up going to an ex or, if the beneficiary died and you didn’t have a backup, it will have to go to probate.

4. Joint Tenancy Property

If you jointly own property with another person, your co-owner is entitled to the rights of survivorship. This means that in the event of your death, the other person would become the sole owner of the property. For this reason, it’s unnecessary to include any mention of your joint tenancy property in your Will. If you are unsure about any property, you should check the title to confirm.

5. Funds for Your Pet

You might view your pet as a valued member of the family, but, in the eye of the law, animals are considered to be personal property. If you were to name your beloved pet as a beneficiary in your Will, any funds you leave them with would end up going to your residuary beneficiary. The safest way to ensure that your pet is well taken care of after you have passed is to set up a Pet Trust.

6. Top-Rated Estate Planning Attorneys in Arizona

Writing your Will can be a confusing and time-consuming process. The best way to get the task done efficiently and correctly is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. At Dana and Associates, LLC, we can walk you through the process and provide you with guidance on how to write your Will based on your unique situation.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our top-rated Arizona estate planning attorneys.