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What does not belong in a will

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Probate & Estate Planning

You may not want to sit down to draft a will and other estate documents. Take some time to get a good idea about what does and does not go into a will.

Creating an estate plan to dispose of your personal property, as well as tangible and intangible assets, will keep your family from going through intestacy proceedings. Knowing what does not go into a will is essential as you create an estate plan.

Do you have pets?

Pets can soon become family members, and you may feel like yours are children. While you do put elements in your will regarding guardianship for children, it does not work this way for pets. You will need to draft other documents to appoint someone to care for your pets, and if you want to leave them money to do it with, that also goes elsewhere.

Do you have funeral plans?

You may have a clear picture of how you want your funeral handled. A will, however, is not the place to express these wishes. The simple fact is timeliness. Your funeral needs to happen before anyone opens the will or probate begins. Thus, make funeral plans and instructions in a separate document and leave it with those you wish to carry it out.

Is there a retirement account to disburse?

Certain accounts have beneficiary designations, such as retirement funds and insurance policies. You cannot use your will to change the disbursement instructions for these accounts, including who gets them. You do that directly with the companies that hold the accounts.

A will is not the only document you should consider having in your estate plan. Someone with knowledge in this area of law can help you create a plan that works for you and your family.