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Assets You Should Exclude When Preparing A Will


The point is driven home quite often, but many Floridians can use a reminder of the importance of creating a will. As noted by the financial planning and wealth management team at Forbes, everyone needs one regardless of age, wealth, or family situation. Your will enables you to pass assets to beneficiaries and choose the person who will manage your final affairs upon your death. Plus, you can accomplish other estate planning goals through a properly executed will, such as creating a testamentary trust or pouring assets into an existing trust.

However, while there can be no doubt that creating a will is a smart move, you should be aware of the limitations. Just like there are things you cannot do with a will, there are certain assets you cannot include in it. To avoid surprises for your loved ones, work with a Dade City wills lawyer who will ensure your intentions come to fruition. Understanding how a will works should help you realize what to exclude. 

Basic Functions of a Will 

As it pertains to distribution of your estate to beneficiaries, your will may contain provisions on specific bequests. These are the sections where you identify a particular item that you own and state who you want to receive it. In addition, there are general bequests, in which you provide that someone should receive a certain amount of money; the source of the funds is irrelevant. Finally, your will should include a statement of how you want to distribute the “residue” of your estate, which is essentially what remains after paying all obligations and distributing specific and general bequests.

The key with making any distribution through your will is that you must actually, legally own the asset, a point that is more complex than you might expect.

What You Should Not Include in Your Will 

In general, you cannot distribute any assets that you do not own OR which are subject to some other law on distribution. As such, the following items should be excluded:

  • Jointly Owned Property: Certain assets designate that joint owners have the “right of survivorship” in the ownership documents, such as a deed, car title, or bank account. The interest of an owner goes to surviving owners at death and your will cannot change this operation.
  • Assets in a Living Trust: If you created a grantor trust during your lifetime and properly funded it, you do not individually own any assets held in the name of the trust.
  • Assets with Designated Beneficiaries: When setting up life insurance, retirement accounts, annuities, and some bank accounts, you might include a provision to transfer the asset to a designated beneficiary. This occurs automatically by operation of law, so you cannot divert funds through your will. 

Get Legal Help from a Skilled Florida Wills Attorney 

You can see how mistakes with including improper assets can disrupt your intentions in drawing up your will, so avoid problems – and the shock to your loved ones – by contacting The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane in Pasco County. You can schedule a consultation by calling 352-567-0055 or visiting our website.



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