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Will power: 3 things to leave out of your will (and why)

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Estate Planning

Your final will is a critical part of your estate plan, allowing you to designate how your assets are distributed between your loved ones after you’re gone. This usually results in peace of mind about end of life matters. 

Despite the power of a will, some things are better handled in other ways to avoid confusion and ensure a smooth process for your family. Here are three things to consider addressing with a different estate planning tool.

Assets intended for pet care

You may have heard tales of cherished family pets inheriting wealth and luxury homes, but probably not through a traditional will. Since animals are considered property, they cannot inherit legally and should be left out of your will. However, you can create a pet trust arranging for the lifelong care of the animals you love.

Assets with designated beneficiaries

You might be surprised by how easy it is to forget you have already named beneficiaries for retirement accounts and insurance policies. Since these assets automatically transfer to the designated beneficiaries, there is no need to address them in your final will. In fact, doing so might create confusion and complications.

Assets owned by a trust

Trusts are excellent estate planning tools for several reasons, such as wealth preservation, charitable giving and bypassing probate. Just remember not to include trust-owned assets in your will as it could lead to conflicts. Technically, you don’t own that property anymore – the trust does – so do not revisit it in your will.

As you can see, will and trust creation can be an intricate process, but with proper guidance, you can ensure none of your essential documents conflict with each other. An experienced representative with knowledge of both North Dakota and Minnesota estate laws can provide such guidance.