Drafting your will is one of the most important parts of the estate planning process. This document will determine how your assets are divided and disbursed after you pass away. Not only does it ensure that your wishes are followed, but it can also prevent a tremendous amount of tension and stress among your surviving family members and other potential heirs. When working with an Alabama attorney to draft your will, there are three things that you shouldn’t include.
Property that you co-own should never be included in your will
All jointly owned property should be left out of your will. Also known as joint-tenancy with rights of survivorship, arrangements like these generally mean that full ownership will automatically be transferred to the surviving owner. This includes any community property or property that was acquired during your marriage, even if your spouse is not explicitly named as a co-owner.
Life insurance proceeds and proceeds from retirement plans should be left out
In instances in which a beneficiary has already been named, there is no need to put the related property in your will. Both life insurance and retirement plans have sections for specifying the intended beneficiary or beneficiaries along with instructions on how the proceeds should be divided. Other assets that have pre-established beneficiaries include:
- Bank account funds that are payable upon death
Don’t include burial instructions
It’s generally best to have a separate document that details your after-death wishes rather than including your burial instructions and other such directives in your will. Wills aren’t typically read until all burial matters have been completed. Thus, if your burial instructions are only stated in your will, there’s a very high likelihood that they may be overlooked.
Get help in drafting your will
Drafting a will is one of the most important parts of the estate planning process, but it can also be confusing. Working with a probate and estate planning attorney may help you ensure that this document includes everything it should and nothing it shouldn’t. With legal help, you may rest assured that your assets will be disbursed lawfully and exactly as you intend them to be.