Creating a will is the cornerstone of estate planning, but this is not a document in which you can add everything in terms of property to pass onto future generations. Some types of property should not be included in a will at all. Property that should not be listed in your will is any asset that is already subject to its own laws about distribution upon your death. Examples include:

  • Annuity or life insurance proceeds since the beneficiary named on these policies will get that money regardless.
  • Pay on death bank accounts, which will automatically pass on to the beneficiary listed.
  • Property held inside a living trust, since a living trust is a tool used to directly facilitate the transfer property after the grantor passes away.
  • Property held with the right of survivorship, which automatically passes to the co-owner upon your death. Nothing included in your will can change this.
  • Transfer on death property such as real estate, stocks, bonds or vehicles.

Any other real or personal property that does not automatically pass to your beneficiary should be included in your last will and testament. Your attorney can help you to create an inventory of all of your assets to help you determine what is already included by other methods of passage and which should be listed inside your will.

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