What You Shouldn’t Include in Your Will

Creating a will is one of the most important things you can do. It ensures your assets are passed onto the people you intend them to go to when you pass away.

When drawing up a will, most people focus on what they are going to include in the document; but there are some provisions that you can’t or you shouldn’t put into your will. Contact Long Island Estate Planning to help with your will.

If you’re creating a will, here’s a look at some of the things that you shouldn’t put into it.

Funeral Arrangements

Though you may have a specific idea of how you would like your remains to be handled, your will isn’t the place to share your preferences. Why? – Because your body isn’t considered property, which means that it can’t be considered a part of your estate. Call long island elder law about this.

While you can certainly try to state your desires regarding your burial, they may not be carried out how you want them to be. Instead of putting your funeral arrangements in your will, consider discussing your wishes with the person you have chosen to be the executor of your will, and make arrangements to have your services paid for out of your estate – which you can put into your will. For example, you can designate that a specific amount of your money will go toward cremation or burial.

Property that is Held Jointly

If you jointly hold property with another person, as per the law, that person will automatically receive the rights of the property upon your passing. This means that no matter what you say in your will about the property, the rights to the property will be passed to the surviving joint tenant. In other words, putting your wishes for what you would like to be done with property that is jointly held is pointless, as your wishes will not be carried out. You should probably contact an estate attorney long island to help you with all your needs.

A Digital Estate

If you passed away right now, chances are that a decent amount of property would be left behind in your digital estate, such as eBooks and iTunes that you have purchase, as well as any other items that are in other cloud-based digital accounts.

Though things may change in the future, currently, your requests regarding any digital property cannot be enforced by the law. Instead, you may want to bequeath any pertinent information regarding your digital property, such as usernames and passwords,

Retirement Funds and Life Insurance

In regard to retirement plans and life insurance, you need to designate a beneficiary. When you pass away, any assets that are associated with these accounts will be immediately transferred to the beneficiary you have named and will be distributed accordingly. This includes any money from your 401(k), your pension, or your IRA.

Any Requests or Gifts that are Illegal

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to mention that you cannot leave any gifts or requests that are illegal in nature in your will. Though you may have a stockpile of unregistered guns and ammunition that you would like to leave to someone, or you want to have a building burned down after you pass away, these types of requests and gifts are not legal; therefore, if you include them in your will, the document will also be illegal. Use common sense when you are making your will; don’t include anything that is frowned upon by the law.

Any Gifts to Your Pets

Though your dog or cat may be one of the most important members of your family, you cannot leave gifts to them in your will. Animals cannot legally own property. If you want to make sure that your pet is taken care of after you pass, leave him or her to someone who you know will offer good care. Additionally, you can leave the person you bequeath your pet to money or property that will assist in caring for your pet.

Care for Someone with Special Needs

If someone with special needs is relies on you for care, you may be inclined to include arrangements for his or her care in the event of your passing. While this may seem like a good idea, a will is not the right place to make these types of arrangements. Instead, look into opening a special needs trust for your loved one. In the trust, you can address the specific needs regarding the care of someone with special needs after you pass.

If you have any questions about what you shouldn’t include in your will – or what you should include in it – contact our estate planning attorney long island today.