Avoid Putting These Things in Your Will

Having a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family. Taking the time to have one drafted can save them time and stress in an already difficult situation. No one likes thinking about when they pass away, but the reality is having a will ensures your assets are left to who you intended to leave them to. However, you may not realize that there are actually some things you can't or just shouldn't leave in your will. Our estate planning attorneys at the Lake of the Ozarks are here to let you know what NOT to put in your will. If you do need assistance drafting your will, call Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter and Welch.

Avoid Putting These Things in Your Will

1. Retirement Funds

Whether you have a 401k, IRA or Pension, the funds from retirement accounts such as these go to whoever you named as a beneficiary or your spouse, (depending on the retirement account) when you pass away. Therefore, if you have designated an individual as beneficiary, you cannot request those funds be designated to someone different in your will. We suggest keeping your beneficiaries up to date as your life changes. You will often find your retirement accounts allow for you to change a beneficiary as needed.

2. Money Left in Your Joint Checking Account

While you may have contributed a fair share of money to a joint checking account, when you pass away, the become the other account holder's asset. These funds will not be subject to the provisions of your will.

3. Instructions for Your Funeral

Funerals are normally one of the first things loved ones start planning when a family member passes. Probate usually doesn't occur until later so it would be irrelevant to include specific instructions for your funeral in your will because usually that will not be seen until after the funeral.  However, if you have particular wishes for your funeral, you could leave them in a separate document and talk to your family members about it ahead of time. You don't know exactly when you'll pass away, but you could leave a document stating your wishes in a safe deposit box or another place with important documents that your family member would have access to and speak with them about it.

4. Special Conditions

For example, a special condition could be “I leave $50,000 to Billy, but he must get married by the age of 25 in order to receive it.” Special conditions such as these are typically not binding in a will.

5. Gifts to Your Pets

Pets are like family to some people and you may feel the urge to leave them assets through your will, but the fact is that pets don't have the legal capacity to own property. As an alternative, you should consider leaving your pet to someone you trust and then leaving funds that person to take care of the pet.

Need Assistance Drafting Your Will?

There are many factors that go into drafting a will, and an experienced lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks can help you navigate through everything. Knowing what you can and cannot put into your will is extremely important because you want it done correctly so there are no issues after you pass away. Having a lawyer helping you can make this process much simpler and may even give you some peace of mind. For more information on our services and Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter, and Welch, visit our website at www.PMCWLaw.com or call us at the phone number listed below for a free consultation today.

Law Offices of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter, & Welch, P.C.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising. When you need a knowledgeable attorney, we invite you to contact us to set up a consultation. Evening and weekend appointments are available. We have access to interpreters.

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