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Heritage Tree LogoWhat You Should Not Include in Your Will in Pennsylvania

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It is critical to understand what belongs in a will and what does not. Continue reading and reach out to our skilled Butler County will preparation attorney today to learn more about what you should not include in your will.

What should I not include in my will?

A number of things should not be put in your will. Some of them include the following:

1. Trust property. A trust is a separate kind of estate planning tool that can be used to distribute your assets. Because the trust functions independently, it is critical to evade inconsistencies and not to put anything in your will that the trust will handle and distribute on its own. Trusts are a typical estate planning alternative that avoids probate. If you title property into the trust, it becomes subject to the trust’s rules, which are applied in the trust document instead of the will.

2. Assets with named beneficiaries. In some cases, assets and financial accounts are payable or transferable on death. They are given or paid out instantly to the named beneficiaries, which makes putting them in a will not necessary. You can, however, include details about these assets in your letter of instruction.

Instead of putting these assets in your will, give them beneficiary designations instead:

  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage or investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts and pension plans
  • A life insurance policy

3. Jointly-owned property. Property that is jointly owned with another individual will nearly always immediately pass to the co-owner after you die, which is why you should not put this in your will. For example, if you and your sibling own stocks in a jointly owned brokerage account, then they will continue to own the account and its investments after you pass away. This arrangement is referred to as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.

4. Conditional gifts and bequests. In a will, you can be clear about who receives what, but, if you attach certain conditions, it may not work since no one can legally enforce the terms so you should leave these kinds of wishes out when writing a will. If you have clear details about how someone should use their inheritance, whether they are a spendthrift or someone with special needs, it is best to open a trust that can provide you with more power over your beneficiaries, even after you pass away.

To learn more about what you should leave out of your will, do not wait to reach out to our skilled Butler County estate planning & probate attorneys today.


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