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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

What Not to Put in a Will

POSTED ON: October 22, 2018

A Last Will and Testament is an estate planning document that lets you coordinate the distribution of your assets after your death. But there are actually some things that shouldn’t be included in your will.

Accounts that have designated beneficiaries
With items like life insurance, annuity policies, joint bank accounts, pay-on-death bank accounts, or proceeds from pensions, retirement plans, IRAs, and 401(k)s, you’ve already designated beneficiaries when you completed the designation of beneficiary forms for those efforts.

Property that’s held as joint tenancy or in a living trust
Property held as joint tenancy passes to the joint tenant by law while the property deeded to a living trust can’t be given away to someone else in your will.

Instructions for your funeral
Wills are often not read until after the funeral. Instead, create a separate document that explains your wishes for your funeral and leave it with your executor.

Provisions for your pet
Since pets can’t legally own property, you can’t leave them anything directly. What you can do is create a pet trust to take care of your furry friend.

Contingency gifts
Leaving an asset to a beneficiary only if that person performs a certain duty or act (like attending college or marrying someone) isn’t typically legal.

Provisions for those with special needs
The right way to do this is with a special needs trust.

We can help you create your will and other estate planning documents, so you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes will be followed. Contact us at or 617.299.6976 today.