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Including certain things in a will could complicate probate

That statement may seem contrary to what most Georgia residents hear when it comes to estate planning. However, there are certain issues and assets that should not be covered in a last will and testament. Doing so would more than likely cause unnecessary complications to the probate process.

Certain types of property are titled in such a way that they pass to another individual by operation of law. For instance, a home titled in joint tenancy will automatically pass to the other party after the death of the other party. Many retirement accounts and life insurance policies require beneficiary designations, which usually take precedence over what a Georgia resident may put in his or her will.

Some people put funeral instructions in their wills. Unfortunately, these may not be seen until afterward. Wills also do not help to avoid estate taxes or probate.

An individual may also not be able to put certain conditions on any bequests, especially if those conditions may be illegal. Well-intentioned individuals may also attempt to leave assets to someone in their lives with special needs. The law allows other ways to take care of a person with special needs that preserve other rights and benefits he or she may receive.

Creating a will is ordinarily the first step in estate planning, but it needs to be done with care. Other options may be available to dispose of assets that will better achieve an individual's goals. Otherwise, surviving family members could be faced with an overly complex and frustrating probate process in the midst of their grief. It may be worthwhile to understand the implications of the choices made in a will prior to its execution.

Source: FindLaw, "What Not To Include When Making a Will", Accessed on July 2, 2017

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