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What NOT To Include In Your Will

April 12, 2022

The best way to start your estate plan is beginning with your will. Though we do not recommend to only create a will as it does not fully ensure protection once you die or if you become incapacitated, it is still very essential to have in this estate planning process. There are a few specific assets that should not be included in a will that we want to bring to your attention. Here are some examples of what not to include in your will.

· Assets with a Right of Survivorship

· Assets held in a trust

· Assets with Designated Beneficiary

· Your pet and money for its care

· Money for the care of a person with special needs

Some of these may come as a surprise to you. A will only covers assets that are solely owned by you, therefore including your assets with a Right of Survivorship would not be necessary as those automatically pass to the surviving co-owner. Assets that are held in a trust automatically passes to the named beneficiary upon your death or incapacity (this includes assets held by revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts). Any assets that are included in a will must first pass through probate, a court, process, before it is transferred to the intended beneficiaries.

As far as including your pet’s care in your will, please note that pets are considered personal property under law. This means that your pet cannot be named as a beneficiary in your will. If you leave your pet and money for its care to a future caregiver, that caregiver would have no legal obligation to use the funds to care for your pet, unfortunately he/she could legally keep all of the money and drop off your pet at the local shelter. We recommend consulting with an attorney here at North County Legal to further discuss how you can be ensured that your pet will be taken care of upon your death or incapacitation.

Lastly, when including money for a person with special needs in your will, it can be very easy to unintentionally disqualify him/her for some much-needed government benefits if you do not use the specific and proper planning strategies. This is why we suggest consulting with an attorney here at North County Legal when ensuring that this person gets properly taken care of.

Don’t Take Any Chances

Ultimately, when creating your will and the rest of your estate plan, we highly recommend meeting with an experienced planning professional. Here at North County Legal, we can help ensure that your desires and wishes come your death or potential incapacitation are properly executed. Schedule a free consultation today, to get started with this critical estate planning step.