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What should you not include in your last will and testament?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Uncategorized

If you’re one of many people in Indiana who are thinking about executing an estate plan this year, you’ll want to explore all options available to create a plan that best fits your needs and ultimate goals. Every case is unique, and an issue of utmost importance to one person might be irrelevant to another. For instance, regarding a last will and testament, you might want to incorporate an advance directive, while another estate owner chooses to omit this document.

There are no rules about what you must include in your last will and testament. If you want to appoint a power of attorney, for example, you may choose one or more people to fulfill the role. However, there are certain things that you shouldn’t include in your will if you want to create a solid estate plan.

Things you should not incorporate into your will

The following list shows things estate owners should avoid including in their wills:

  • Conditional gifts: These are better off placed in a trust.
  • Instructions for burial: You may incorporate instructions for burial in your will, but it might be best to keep these in a separate document that’s easily accessible to your loved ones.
  • Money for pet care: Since animals can’t own anything, it’s best to place monies intended to provide for pet care into a trust.
  • Funds to provide care for someone with special needs: There’s such a thing as a “special needs trust,” which is the best option for protecting funds to provide for a loved one who needs specialized care.
  • Jointly owned property.

If you’re unsure whether to include or omit something from your last will and testament, you can seek guidance from someone who has experience in the estate planning process.

You must meet requirements for your will to be valid

In some cases, a probate judge might rule that a person’s last will and testament is invalid. Here are some of the reasons why this type of ruling has occurred in the past:

  • The person initiating the will was not of sound mind at the time.
  • The person initiating the will was not 18 or older.
  • The person initiating the will was under duress.
  • The required number of witnesses was not present at the signing.

Every state has its own estate planning laws. Before executing a last will and testament in Indiana, be sure to research all relevant regulations to ensure that you are executing a plan that will stand up in court.