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Know what assets don't belong in your will

Creating a will is a critical step in making your estate plan, but you don't have to include everything you own in the will. Instead, there are some specific things that don't have to be discussed in this document. It's imperative that you understand the distinction here so that you can focus on the things that should be included.

When you're creating your estate plan, you might opt to establish trusts. Nothing in these trusts should be placed in the will. These assets will move to the person who is named in the trust, so you don't have to leave any other instructions.

Another type of asset that isn't included in the will is anything that's governed by a payable-on-death designation. This can include things like bank or investment accounts. When you established those accounts, you may have filled out a form that says who gets them when you pass away. You can contact the financial institution to find out if you have one of these on file. You can also change who is named in this by updating the document.

You also shouldn't include any joint tenancy property in this estate plan document. These assets automatically go to the other owner when you pass away. Putting them in the will can cause confusion for the people who are left to sort out your affairs.

Your will also isn't a place to outline your funeral wishes. Oftentimes, this document isn't reviewed until after the person's been laid to rest. Instead, you can leave a letter of instruction or a document outlining these plans.

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