What Should I Not Include in My Will?

Leave outside of last will and testament
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There are things you should not include in your last will and testament.

You have recently inventoried your assets.

Your list includes your real estate, your investments, your bank accounts, and your tangible property.

With this step completed, you are ready to create an estate plan.

According to a recent MSN Money article titled “Things you should never put in your will,” a last will and testament will work for many estate planning needs.

You should not include some things in your last will and testament
Do not include passwords or funeral instructions in your last will and testament.

For example, it can be used to name guardians for minor children and to designate heirs.

Even so, there are limits to what a last will and testament can accomplish.

In fact, it may be better to leave certain assets out of your last will and testament.


With a last will and testament assets must be distributed through the probate process.

This can take months or longer to complete.

If there is a contest to your last will or other issues arise, it will be even longer before assets make their way to your heirs.

Any assets held in a trust or in a payable-on-death account will transfer directly to heirs when you die.

In fact, a trust works independently from your last will.

Any assets titled to the trust will fall under its authority in both management and distribution.

As you review the asset on your lists, make note of the assets owned jointly with another individual.

Do not include these in your last will and testament.

They will pass directly to the second owner when you die.

Be sure your beneficiary designations and titles are up-to-date.

These assets transfer directly to the named individual even if you indicate otherwise in your last will and testament.

What types of accounts use beneficiary designations?

These include bank accounts, investments and brokerage accounts, life insurance polices, retirement accounts, and pension plans.

If you have an interest in a business, you can use a last will to pass on your interest.

However, “can” and “should” are two very different things.

You should work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create an effective and efficient business succession plan.

If the business is a family business, make sure you set your loved ones up for success in continuing to serve the community.

If you have a partnership with no family interest in taking over your portion, arrange a buyout so your family receives funds and your partner can take over full ownership.

When planning for your funeral, do not include the instructions in your last will and testament.

You family may not see these instructions until after you are buried.

This will do you little good!

Instead, write a letter of instruction to your loved ones and include your wishes for your funeral.

Finally, do not place passwords and usernames to online accounts in your last will.

Your last will and testament is a public document.

This means anyone could access the information after it has been filed with the court.


Keeping certain things out of your will can better protect everyone you love and everything you have.

ReferenceMSN Money (Dec. 8, 2020) “Things you should never put in your will”

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