Estate Planning: What You Can’t Write in Your Will and Why

Although a will is a vital part of estate planning that most individuals must have, it isn’t always clear what you can’t indicate in a will. While very crucial legal documents, they simply can’t address all kinds of property and situations. Knowing its limitations, however, will help you in planning your will accordingly. In this light, here are some things that you can’t include in your will.

Transfer Specific Types of Property

Life insurance plans, property under joint tenancy, transfer death accounts, retirement accounts, or property in a trust would automatically pass in the event of your death due to the way it’s owned in the legal sense. Basically, anything you indicate in your will won’t affect these kinds of properties.

Leave Resources For Individuals with Special Needs

If you are planning on leaving money for a child, parent, spouse, or some other person with special needs, a will isn’t the best way to do this. You should make a special needs trust for holding the money to be utilized for the individual’s care without negatively impacting their government benefits.

It’s also a good idea to ask advice from family lawyers for specific provisions that you can include in your will.

Funeral Instructions

Although you can leave funeral instructions in a will, in most cases, wills are not read or even located until weeks or days following the owner’s death. Instead of leaving funeral plans in your will, you can leave separate instructions or pre-plan your funeral. Make sure to tell someone about your plans as well.

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Directions for Pet Care

Animals are not considered inheritors under the law, so you can’t legally leave them money. To help ensure that your pets will be taken care of when you pass away, you should leave money to a trusted individual who’s willing to care for your pets.

You must also leave your pets to that individual because animals are considered property under the law. Additionally, you can consider setting up a pert protection agreement, which is a special trust that can be used to provide for the needs of your pet.

Avoid the Probate Process

This is a legal procedure performed for validating a will. It could take several months and entails court, lawyer, and executor fees. If you make a will that’s required for transferring property, probate is necessary.

Evade Estate Tax

Certain states and the government apply estate taxes to estates considered to be sizeable, such as those worth millions. While you can’t possibly evade estate taxes with a will, you can use certain kinds of trusts such as special needs trusts and marital trusts, among others, to reduce your estate taxes.

Trying to figure out the proper information you should indicate in your will could be confusing. The most efficient way to make certain that you are putting the proper details is to consult with a local attorney with experience in estate planning laws and can provide advice on what details to include and not include your will according to your particular circumstances.

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