What can’t I include in my estate plan?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2022 | Estate Planning

Your estate plan might consist solely of a will or may include numerous other documents including trusts and powers of attorney. Every individual’s unique legacy wishes and personal circumstances will dictate the use of different documents for estate planning purposes.

Still, while the details of your plan will inevitably be unique and customized to your circumstances, there are certain general rules about what you can and cannot include in your Nevada estate plan. Including any of the terms below could lead to challenges in probate court in some cases or estate planning documents that don’t achieve what you intend them to do in others.

What should you avoid including in your will or other estate planning documents?

Your life insurance proceeds

The beneficiary designation filed with your insurance provider will determine who receives the payout from the company. It is a surprisingly common mistake for people to make changes regarding their beneficiary in their will while failing to make those changes to the actual paperwork filed with the insurance company.

This rule also applies to assets already set to transfer on your death to specific people. Financial accounts and real estate with pre-existing transfer-on-death designations do not belong in your will.

Trust assets

Maybe you want to leave certain assets for a child with special needs. Perhaps you want to provide financial support for the person who will take care of your beloved parrot, which might live for several more decades after your death.

Assets used to fund a trust should not appear in your will, as that could lead to fights over the true beneficiary intended to receive those assets.

Jointly owned assets

When you own certain property with your spouse or another individual, you have to be careful about how you bequeath your interest in that property to others. Typically, you do not want to include assets that someone else partially owns in your will.

Unnecessary personal information

While you may want to briefly mention certain details, like a decision to disinherit one family member, your legal estate planning documents are typically not the best place to go into great depth about your personal wishes.

It is possible to provide personal letters for certain beneficiaries and secondary instructions for the representative you name to handle your estate without including all of your emotional concerns in your actual estate plan.

Recognizing what you should not include in a will or other estate planning documents can protect you from mistakes that could invalidate your paperwork or lead to lengthy disputes in Probate court.