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Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, P.C.
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What should you exclude from your will?

As you begin to think about getting your end-of-life affairs in order, you may focus a great deal on how you should distribute your assets. One of the most common ways individuals choose to carry out this task relates to creating a will. You can include a variety of information in this document, and it may help you cover many areas of your estate-planning needs.

While you may wish to lump all of your information in a will, it may work more in your favor and the favor of your surviving family to leave some information out of this document. The reason for this lack of inclusion may relate to assets already having distribution designations or to needing the information before the reading of the will.

Funeral arrangements

Though you may wish to get your funeral arrangements in order well before your demise, leaving your wishes and instructions in your will may not prove the best option. In many cases, funerals take place before surviving family begin working to settle the estate. Therefore, those family members may not discover your instructions until after the funeral has already taken place. You can still make your wishes known, however, by discussing the arrangements with your family.

Certain property

Though you may wish to distribute all of your assets through your will, certain property does not need inclusion in the document. You may wish to exclude the following from your will:

  • Joint tenancy property
  • Life insurance policies with beneficiaries
  • Retirement plan proceeds
  • Stocks or bonds with beneficiaries
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts

The reason you do not need to address these assets in your will is because they already have individuals designated to receive the property in the event of your death. Therefore, including them in your will would prove redundant, and if you name a different beneficiary in your will than the one attached with one of the previously mentioned accounts, unnecessary conflict could come about.

Knowing what to include

As you begin your estate planning, you may wish to take inventory of your property and determine whether any assets already have beneficiary designations. By categorizing and updating your assets and designations, you may have a better idea of what you would like to include in your will. If you have questions about creating a will, you may wish to utilize local California legal resources.

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