Ronald Fatoullah & Associates - Elder Law

Know what you can't put in your will

When most people think of an estate plan, they automatically turn to a will. While this is the primary document that is used for many things, some points shouldn't be included in the will. One of the primary things you shouldn't put here is your funeral instructions. These should be included in a letter of instruction or something similar because your will won't be read immediately after your death. Chances are good that your funeral or memorial service will be done long before the will is read.

You can't include any assets that have a payable on death designation. This includes most financial accounts, including checking, savings, retirement, and investment. If you want to change the beneficiary for any of these accounts, you will need to fill out a new designation form.

You shouldn't include any assets that are held in trusts. Anything that is placed in a trust will be governed by the terms of that trust. You can set these now so that they can be handled accordingly when you pass away. There are many things to consider when you are establishing a trust, so be sure that you consider individual circumstances when you go through the different options to determine which is the most appropriate.

You can't include any assets that are held in joint tenancy. These will go to the co-owner of the property. Including these assets in your will might cause confusion because they will always be handled according to the joint tenancy laws.

Customizing your estate plan ensures that your assets end up where you want them to go. If any points might be concerning to your loved ones, consider discussing these with them while you are here to answer questions and provide clarifications.

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