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Understanding What Not To Include In Your Will

Leaving behind a Will is perhaps one of the wisest decisions you will ever make in your life and one of the most responsible ones as well. This is mainly because it tells your family and friends about your last wishes in regards to the property and estate you will leave behind. Sure your Will can include instructions that might be particularly complicated. But you need to keep in mind that although certain use of language in your Will that might look legal on the surface may not necessarily be enforceable on legal grounds.

Certain clauses and practicalities like these might make your carefully tailored Will utterly useless. Therefore, there are certain items that you should conveniently exclude from your Will.

Let’s take a look at what these are:

1.Distribution of certain type of estate and property

Laws and rules revolving around the property can often trump the contents of your Will. For instance, proceeds from life insurance and payable-upon-death bank accounts by design go to your named beneficiary an cannot be altered through a Will. Property held in joint tenancy gets transferred automatically to your joint tenant irrespective of what your Will states.

2.Instructions relating to your funeral

This is where practicalities create a hurdle. Usually, a funeral takes place long before the decedent’s estate and property is distributed amongst its beneficiaries. In this case, your specific funeral instructions that were a part of your Will, will not see the light of the day and it will be too late. Therefore, it will be best to create a separate document that contains the specific funeral instructions to ensure that your family knows what you want.

3.Refrain from using the Will to skirt around taxes

A Will is liable to get subjected to the estate tax and many a time people try to use their Wills to skirt around heavy taxes. Instead of doing this you should look into different types of trusts that will be ideal for your situation. Trusts usually tend to skip a lot of tax subjection and beneficiaries have little or no control over this.

4.Conditional gifts

Gifts that are subjected to certain conditions are usually not enforceable from a legal perspective. For instance, courts refuse to accept gifts or donations that are based on the condition that the recipient should marry a specific person, get a divorce or convert their religion. Bequests for unlawful purposes also aren’t permitted for obvious reasons. You can’t bequeath a property to someone with the sole intention of manufacturing something illegal, for instance, drugs.

5.Making arrangements for disabled relatives

While you can surely make provisions for another person’s care in your Will, it is recommended to not do so. Certain trusts like the ones for special needs are more convincing in case you are looking to make special arrangements for a relative. This is certainly the way to go.

6.Bequests for pets

In some states, this is something that’s permitted but this is not the case everywhere. It is a given that animals cannot own a property let alone take care and benefit from it. So this settles the that you cannot leave them anything in your Will. An alternative is that you can set up a trust with specifications for your pet’s housing and care.

Avail Legal Help While Drafting Your Will

Making a Will can be overwhelming as you need to figure just the right information so that you can make the right kind of provisions. You’ll want to do it properly with the least amount of hassle possible. The best way to go on about this is to seek correct legal advice from an expert estate planning attorney who knows the current laws. This way you will receive the best possible advice on the do’s and don’ts of your Will as per your personal situation.

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Patricia Franklin

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