Are there things that you should not put in your Will?
Here are 3 of them.
Certain Types of Property.
Your Will (“last will and testament”) is a legal document that states your final wishes and gives instructions about how to divide up your property when you die.
But there are certain types of property that you cannot dispose of in your Will.
For example, you cannot arrange to leave money that is in a “payable on death” bank account to someone in your Will. This type of account requires you to name a beneficiary and it is that person who will get the money in the bank account when you die.
You also cannot will property to someone that has been place into a living trust. Property that is in a living trust is managed by the appointed trustee and it automatically goes to the named beneficiaries.
These are merely two examples. There are other types of property that you cannot dispose of in your will. To find out what they are, consult experienced and knowledgeable estate planning counsel.
Arrangements for Special Needs Persons.
Another thing not to put in your Will is arrangements that attempt to take care of persons or family members with special needs (whether disabled physically or mentally, or incapacitated or persons with addiction problems).
Rather than trying to use a will for this (which is not recommended because it can cause the disabled person to become ineligible for certain government assistance programs, like Social Security Income, subsidized housing, or Medicaid) you should use a “Special Needs Trust” instead.
When you create a Special Needs Trust, money is placed into a trust that is administered by a trustee of your choosing for the benefit of your loved one. A Special Needs Trust is a flexible tool that can be used to provide for your loved one who needs care. It is important that you speak to an experienced trusts and estates attorney to ensure that your Special Needs Trust is well-drafted.
Don’t Leave Gifts to Your Pets in Your Will.
Finally, gifts of money to your pet should not be included in your Will.
Pets do not have the legal capacity to hold property. Much as we love them, under the law, pets are themselves considered to be property. So leaving a gift to your pet in your Will simply won’t work.
Instead, consider leaving your pet to someone who you know will take good care of it, and use your Will to leave that person money that they can use for the pet’s care.
Or, depending on which state you live in, you may be able to create a “pet trust” and care for your pet in that way. To find out if pet trusts are available in your state, consult with counsel.
Let Us Help You.
When it comes to drafting a valid will, there is a lot to know. Which is why we so often tell people not to try to do their own wills and not to use “canned” wills that can be downloaded online. When it comes to drafting your will or trust, save yourself money and time and save your family grief by engaging experienced trusts and estates attorneys to help you. We offer free consultations, and we serve all of Arizona. Our offices are located in beautiful Sedona and we serve Verde Valley as well. We can help you provide and plan for your loved ones. Call us at 928-282-1483 or contact us here.