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What Not to Include in a Will

A will is essential to ensuring that your assets and possessions are passed to your loved ones as you intended. Not everything can be handled by your will or is even appropriate to include. Learn more about what you shouldn’t include in your will.

Funeral Plans or Final Wishes

Since your body isn’t technically property, your will has no legal control over your remains. You may detail your funeral plans or desires for your final resting place in your will, but there is no obligation for your family to heed your wishes. If you have funeral plans or other wishes, it is best to discuss your plans with your family and the executor of your estate. You can even arrange for your services to be paid out of your estate and note this provision in your will.

Your Digital Properties

Like many people in the internet age, you may have a vast collection of digital music purchases, e-books, documents, and other online properties. While these holdings may be a significant investment, you are not able to bequeath them to your heirs. For many services, this is considered a breach of contract and may result in the termination of your account or other consequences. You may be able to leave your login information, but a will is a public document, so it may be better to leave your private login information in a separate document.

Joint Property

When it comes to the inheritance of joint property, the right of survivorship dictates who will inherit the property. If you co-own a home with a spouse, family member, or friend, the surviving owner inherits your share of the property. Putting any other plans for the property in your will is pointless, as the other owner legally stands to inherit ownership.

Life Insurance & Retirement Funds

Any account or plan that requires you to designate a beneficiary of the plan is not subject to your will. The asset will automatically transfer to the beneficiary listed upon notification of your death. They are not able to be distributed by your will.

Illegal Requests or Objects

You cannot bequeath illegal possessions, such as drugs, and you cannot request your heirs to perpetrate illegal acts on your behalf after your death. Including these requests or gifts in your will may bring it under scrutiny by the courts.

If you are drafting a will, our experienced estate planning attorneys can guide you through the process. We can help you ensure that your will is legally valid so that your loved ones receive what you intended them to inherit.

Our Phoenix estate planning attorneys can help you create your end of life plans, including your will. Our team at Taylor & Lihn, PLLC is backed by more than 30 years of collective experience, and you can trust that we can handle your complex estate planning needs. Contact our offices at (602) 900-9860 to schedule a free consultation.

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