3 assets you should never include in your will

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Carl S. Goode |

Most people appreciate the need to leave their inheritance for the people they love when they die. This explains why they write wills. A clearly written and valid will can give you peace of mind knowing that your hard-earned assets will go to the right people when you die.

While drafting a will, however, it’s important to know what you can (and cannot) include in it. The last thing you want is someone contesting your will because it had the wrong assets. That said, here are three assets you should not include in your Louisiana will:

1. Assets that you jointly own with someone else

If you co-own property with someone else, say a family member, you may take out the title as tenants by the entirety, tenants in common or as joint tenants with the right of survivorship (JTWROS). If you go for a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship arrangement, then the property in question automatically passes down to the surviving co-owner should you pass on. Such assets do not belong in your will.

2. Assets that you have placed in a trust

A trust, just like a will allows you to leave inheritance for your loved ones. The main difference, however, is that whereas wills go through succession, trusts do not. Assets that are held in a trust are managed by the trust instrument and passed down to the designated beneficiaries per the terms of the trust without involving the succession court. Therefore, including assets that are already in the trust in your will can create unnecessary confusion during succession, especially if there are discrepancies in how you have distributed the assets in question.

3. Assets that have pre-set beneficiaries

Assets like life insurance, 401(k)s and pensions usually have pre-determined beneficiaries. Thus, it’s pointless to include these assets in your will. You may, however, update your preferred beneficiaries with the assets’ managers.

A will is, without a doubt, a crucial legal document. Find out how sound legal counsel can help you create a will that will reflect your wishes when you are no longer around to speak your mind.

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