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What Types of Property Can’t Be Included in a Will?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2021 | Estate Planning

A will is a legal document that that should clearly and specifically lay out your final wishes. A will can establish what will happen to your property after death. It also lays out who shall receive that property. While a will is a valuable tool for directing what you want to happen to your property and estate, it has specific limitations.

Understanding these limitations can help you build a plan that will cover all your bases and ensure that your property is distributed the way that you intended.

What Property Typically Cannot Be Included in a Will?

A will may seem like the perfect document to lay out all your final wishes, including how you want your estate divided. However, certain types of property should not be included in a will. When these properties are included, probate may turn into an extremely long and drawn-out process. There is also no guarantee that those assets will be distributed as your will specifies. Property that should not be included in a will are:

Property Held in a Living Trust

A living trust is a plan that is established and controlled by a person or executor before that person’s passing. It is a legal document that specifies where an individual wants certain assets, investments, and personal property to go.

While living, the individual can remain in control of the assets of the trust and manage them as they see fit. Upon their passing, the assets in the trust are passed down to the beneficiaries outlined in the document. A will cannot override a living trust. A will cannot dictate that the assets of the trust be given to anyone other than the beneficiary named in the trust.

Life Insurance Policy Benefits

Typically, when a person sets up a life insurance policy, they are asked to name the beneficiaries of the policy. A beneficiary is a person people who will take possession of the policy payout upon the individual’s death. Upon passing the benefits of a life insurance policy will automatically go to the named beneficiaries.

Retirement Plans such as IRA or 401K

Again, as will life insurance policies, these plans require an individual to name a beneficiary. When an individual passes, the assets in those accounts will be passed to the named beneficiary and cannot be reallocated to someone else through a will.

Joint-Tenancy Property

If you hold property or assets jointing with another person, a will typically cannot dictate that this property goes to someone else. Generally, the right of survivorship states that the individual’s share of the property will be passed to the joint tenant.

A will is a powerful legal document when prepared by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. When it is used in conjunction with other legal documents, a will can give an individual peace of mind that their hard-earned property and assets are going to the people that they care about.

Contact a Council Bluffs Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have questions about what property may be included in a will, contact a skilled Council Bluffs estate planning lawyer at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP. Not only could we help you create a will, but we can also identify other estate planning tools that may help you ensure that your property passes to those you love.

Estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Reach out to our team today to get the comfort and peace of mind that your final wishes are finally resolved.