What Can’t I Include In My Will?

Although writing a will is something that is essential for everyone of any age, it is important to be aware of what can and can’t be included. This quick guide will help you to know what you should and shouldn’t make provisions for when thinking about settling your estate.

What Must I Leave Out?

There are a few things that you aren’t able to include in your will. These include:

  • Any joint-tenancy property which you own with another person such as your spouse. The property automatically transfers to the other surviving owner.
  • Any retirement plans, insurance policies or trusts which already state a beneficiary clearly.
  • Bonds, stocks or ‘Payable Upon Death’ bank accounts which will transfer to a named beneficiary upon your death.

What About Digital Property?

Although many people today think that their digital assets should be included in their property, in fact the law, as yet, hasn’t caught up.

The majority of online media organisations like email and social media sites as well as image and photo sharing companies are forbidden by law from granting access to your account to another person or from disclosing any of your content without your consent. In general, the legal position is that when the account or content’s owner is deceased, their family has no right to gain access to any of their digital accounts.

Some people attempt to get around this by including their login details and passwords in their will so their heirs can access their digital accounts however, this doesn’t always work. This is because many companies say that transferring access rights is a violation of their terms of service. As a will counts as a public document, sharing your passwords and login information in your will isn’t a secure way to communicate such information.

What About Property That Has Been Assigned To A Designated Beneficiary

If you’ve named someone as a beneficiary already for particular assets but then change your mind and want to leave those assets to someone else, it’s usually possible to change the beneficiary. Whether those assets are retirement plans, trusts, insurance policies, bonds or stocks which are set to be transferred on your death, you will generally be able to make such changes without any problems.

In fact, it is wise to review your beneficiaries periodically when it comes to these kinds of assets anyway, since they are long-term holdings and your circumstances can change a lot over the years. If you’re  ready to make changes to your named beneficiaries on any of your assets, you need to get in touch with the company or person who set up that policy, plan or trust to get the ball rolling.

As you can see, there are only a few  things which you are unable to include in your will. You can assign the remainder of your assets, both large and small, to the beneficiaries of your choice so that you can make certain that your wishes will be properly carried out when the time comes.

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