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What are some things you cannot do with your will?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Estate Planning

A will is an important estate document. But despite how vital it is, a will is not able to do a few specific things.

The American Bar Association notes the main point of a will is to determine who gets your assets after your death. It can also express your wishes and leave behind instructions for your family. But there are limitations.

Pass on a loan

You cannot leave an asset to an heir when that asset is not fully yours. If you still owe a lender for the asset, then you have no right to pass it on to someone else. The true owner is the lender, and the agreement for the repayment was only with you. There is no way to pass on the loan obligation to another person. If your heir wishes to secure the asset, he or she would have to work with the lender to either pay it off or get a new loan.

Override the law

You cannot do things in your will that are not legal. It is also complicated to do something that may be borderline questionable under the law, such as disinheriting an heir. In most cases, your spouse will have some entitlement to your assets. If you try to leave your spouse out of your will, he or she would have a solid case to go to the court and override the will.

Another legal aspect applies when you have assets with a co-owner or beneficiary. If you have already named a beneficiary, that takes legal precedence. You cannot leave that asset to someone else. With a co-owner, that person retains his or her ownership, you cannot void it with your will.

It is important to ensure your will follows the law. If you overstep the boundaries, then there could be issues during probate.


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