A will is the foundation of your personal estate plan. If you die without a will, your state’s laws will determine who, by default, receives your property.
But according to the American Bar Association, if you have created a will, when you die, your wishes will override the state’s laws and your heirs will receive your property as you indicate. However, you cannot include all of your property in your will, and there are some things you should leave out of this estate planning document.
1. Funeral plans
By the time your estate’s executor and your family members get to reading over and executing the terms in your will, your funeral will likely already be over. If you have specific wishes for your funeral, talk to a family member about what these instructions are.
2. Life insurance plans
When you signed up for a life insurance policy, you likely dictated beneficiaries who will receive the proceeds of this policy. For this reason, you do not need to include life insurance policies in your will.
3. Joint property or accounts
If you hold joint tenancy property or a joint financial account with someone, these assets will automatically go to the surviving co-owner. Like life insurance plans that already have a beneficiary, you do not need to include joint property or accounts in your will.
For the assets you do include in your will, do not leave them to another person with any conditions attached. For example, you cannot leave a gift to someone in your will on the condition that they get married or divorce his or her spouse.