Nobody likes to think about their end. The same goes for planning the eventuality. Unfortunately, planning for the end is a fact of life that everyone should indulge in. One of the ways people plan is through leaving a will. A will not only guarantees that your family is well taken care of, but it also ensures that your estate and legacy are maintained. A proper will can easily guarantee many transactions. There are, however, several things you should not expect your will to cover—or to include them in your will.
Property you can't leave in a will
Foremost, there are several types of property you cannot leave in wills. These include:
- Jointly owned property
- Beneficiary-named life insurance
- Property held by transfer-on-death agreements
- Property held by a living trust
The above properties can simply violate a will and make it inadmissible or invalid during probate. Including such property in your will may further give another party avenue for contesting the validity of your will or even nullifying it.
Many people wrongly assume that they can tie the gifts left in a will to certain conditions. This is a practice not encouraged because it opens a whole can of legal worms during enforcement. Conditions left on gifts in wills should be simple, straightforward and easily enforceable. You cannot, for instance, leave a gift on the condition that the recipient doesn't remarry, change their religion or even have other children. For a start, the question of who and for how long will these conditions be enforced presents an entire conundrum. You can, however, set simpler conditions on gifts. For instance, you can say that such a gift or estate should be awarded to so-and-so "if or when" they achieve this or that. Such clauses simplify the transactions given that the conditions you set are precise and easily enforceable on certain milestones achieved.
Special needs care
Finally, If you intend on setting up care for someone with special needs in future, you should not expect it covered in your will. Many people would desire this and will probably try to leave that ailing aunt or uncle with special needs care as a last act of selflessness. Even though admirable, such acts would not be considered legally binding and, therefore, can easily be lost during the probate process. Furthermore, such an allocation may jeopardise their government benefits already in place. Instead, you can set up specific trusts for these individuals. This way, you will ensure you provide what you want for them without risking anything to them.