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A will isn't the place to leave some items to beneficiaries

When you are creating a will, you likely want the will to be as comprehensive as possible. That is a good idea, but you should know that there are some items that aren't appropriate to include in a will. Understanding this before you write out your will can help you to avoid wasting time and effort.

Life insurance policies generally shouldn't be included in a will. These financial policies usually have a beneficiary listed on the policy. When you pass away, the named beneficiary will be the person who gets the life insurance policy. If you aren't comfortable with the way your policy is set up, you should contact the company that holds the policy to make changes.

Retirement plans, stocks and bonds shouldn't be included in a will. All of these items have named beneficiaries who will get the funds or instruments when you pass away. The same is true regarding checking accounts and bank accounts if they are set up as payable-on-death. If they are set up in that manner, the funds will move to the person who is named on the account.

Joint tenancy property and property that is held in a living trust shouldn't be included in a will. In the case of joint tenancy property, the rights to the property move to the surviving joint tenant, so listing the property in a will is pointless. Property that is in a living trust will go to the beneficiaries listed on the trust.

This is only a small sampling of what shouldn't be included in a will. If you are creating or updating a will and have questions about what to include or how to handle assets, make sure you get answers before you proceed.

Source: FindLaw, "What Not To Include When Making a Will," accessed July 08, 2015

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