What Should You Not Put in Your Will?

You know you need a will — but you might have no idea what you should or shouldn’t put in it. Some individuals use their will to have one final chuckle or convey a touching note to the loved ones they leave behind. 

Napoleon Bonaparte, for example, had his head shaved and hair dispersed among his comrades, while William Shakespeare allegedly left his wife his “second finest bed.” The truth is, there are some things you cannot — or should not —  put in your will.

One of the most responsible and beneficial things you can do as an adult is to write your will. It guarantees that all of your assets are distributed to the individuals you choose rather than how the state determines they should be divided. Putting off writing it until it’s too late may cause a lot of worry and strife for your loved ones at a time when they’re already grieving. 

There is no denying that making a will is a prudent and necessary pillar of estate planning. So what are the assets you should not have in your final will? What are the things you should avoid? 

What Sort of Property Is Prohibited From Being Included in Your Will?

Some property laws regulate what occurs following your passing. The intent of such laws is to identify a benefactor or avoid probate. These regulations are independent of your will.

  • Life Insurance: Unless you have included your life insurance in your estate, it will automatically be paid to the intended recipient when you die.
  • Joint Bank Accounts: All money in your joint bank account will be distributed to the account holder who still lives after the partner passes away.
  • Business Partnership: Without such approval of the living partner, it’s doubtful that you’ll be capable of transferring your share in a firm to someone else.
  • Property With a Joint Tenancy: Your claim will go to the living tenant.
  • Benefits From Pensions: According to the pension provider’s terms and conditions, benefits from pensions will typically go to your spouse.
  • Anything That is Not Yours: Indeed, you can’t give something that isn’t entirely yours. Thus leased cars, hire-purchase things, and anything else that isn’t legally your property are not allowed to be transferred.
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Are There Other Things I Should Leave Out of My Final Will?

A will’s principal function is to specify the assets you intend to leave to your chosen beneficiaries. Anything in a will that goes beyond that is not legally enforceable. Certain items aren’t an outright “no,” but you should be cautious about adding them — or, at the very least, use caution in your terminology. Let’s go over a few of them.

1. Avoid Including Funeral Instructions

Funeral services are among the first things to take care of once someone passes away. Typically, the estate settlement and probate processes do not take place until after the interment. As a result, your funeral instructions specified in your will may not be known until after the funeral.Rather than leaving your funeral wishes in your will, discuss them with your loved ones. You can also prepare a separate document detailing your funeral preferences and hand it over to your estate’s executor or personal representative.

2. Will Do Not Include Provisions for Special Needs Individuals

Although it is feasible to plan for a disabled person’s specific requirements, a will is inappropriate. Some forms of trust, such as a special care trust, special needs trust, or a supplemental needs trust, are designed to supervise a disabled person’s unique special requirements. Not the Last Will.

3. Be Cautious About the Conditions You Set on Gifts

Not every one of the demands is lawful. Marriage, divorce, or a change in the recipient’s religion are all examples of conditions that you cannot include in a legitimate will. As a result, they will not be enforced by a court. However, other sorts of conditions can be placed on gifts. The following examples of situations to persuade someone to do or not do something are possible:

  • “To Brandon, if and when he graduates from college,” for example, can be written in your will. 
  • “To Samantha, as long as she operates the land as a restaurant,” you may say. 

Just bear in mind that attaching restrictions to gifts might make things more difficult.

4. You Should Not Give Your Pets Gifts in Your Will

You may like your pet more than anybody else on the planet, but pets do not have the legal competence to own assets. Alternatively, you can entrust the pet’s care to someone you know and set aside some funds to cover the pet’s care or contribute to animal organizations.

5. Don’t Leave Money or Gifts for Illegal Purposes

Even though it is unusual, some may try to include a condition or motive for the gift. It does not constitute your will as a legally binding document. “To Sebastian, so long as he uses the land to cultivate marijuana,” or “To Andres, so long as he drinks his first beer before he becomes 21,” for example, would be forbidden.


Plan For Your Future Today

Dealing with death and planning for what comes after can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be.

With ProvenLaw, you can work through these complexities together with expert legal counsel and get the help you need to decide on the delicate estate planning choices you will need to make to ensure that your loved ones are well cared for in the event of your passing.

Whether you need to adjust an existing trust or are looking to create a new will, please contact us for your complimentary personal consultation and we’ll get you on the road to peace of mind.