What NOT to Include in Your Florida Will

What NOT to Include in Your Florida WillA Florida will is a vital document for distributing your assets to loved ones – but there are certain things that should not be included in your will, including:

Property held in joint tenancy – the right of survivorship passes to the joint tenant by law and cannot be changed via a will.

Property held in a living trust – if you have established a living trust and deeded property to it, that property cannot be willed to someone else.

Designated beneficiary accounts – your retirement plans, life insurance, and other accounts like payable-on-death bank accounts that already have beneficiary designations cannot be willed to someone else. The assets from these accounts pass to those you have named on the beneficiary designation forms.

Conditional gifts – if you wish to leave a gift of assets that is contingent on the beneficiary performing a duty or act (like finishing college or getting married), not every condition is legal. You cannot ask someone to marry, divorce or change his or her religion in order to receive an inheritance via your will.

Funeral instructions – usually a will is reviewed after the funeral, so leaving instructions for your funeral arrangements in your will is not a good idea.   Instead, leave a letter of instruction or discuss your wishes with loved ones.

Gifts to pets – while many of us consider our pets to be family, under the law pets do not have the ability to own property. Set up a Florida pet trust to ensure your pet is cared for after you are gone.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only four Treasure Coast attorneys who is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Elder Law. Contact us for your free initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.

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