A will is an important document that outlines how you want to distribute property upon your death. For most people, the will is the foundation of their estate plan.
According to the American Bar Association, the laws of distribution and descent determine who will inherit your property if you die without a will. Although this may inspire you to include everything you own, there are certain things that you should not add to your will.
1. Joint tenancy property
If you own joint tenancy property, the property will automatically go to your joint tenant if you die. This will happen regardless of what your will says.
2. Retirement and life insurance account proceeds
Funds held in a life insurance policy or retirement account, like an IRA or 401(k) will go to your designated beneficiary after you die. You may want to consider including your spouse, children or other family members as beneficiaries. Update your beneficiaries as needed throughout your life whenever you make changes to your estate plan.
3. Funeral instructions
The settlement of most estates, as well as probate proceedings, does not occur until the funeral is already over. If you want to include instructions for your funeral, talk to your family members about them directly instead of adding these directives to your will.
Your will is a living document that you can change throughout your life. If you want to add property or name different beneficiaries as your life circumstances change, you can do this at any point.