Michigan estate planning: These things do not need to be in wills

Ever wonder what should or should not be included in a will? This is actually a question that many Michigan residents who are going through the estate planning process have. That is the topic of this week's column.

A lot of people think of wills as the catch all. They can cover a significant amount of ground. It all really depends on how detailed one wants it to be. Things commonly included are:

  • Beneficiary names
  • Instructions on the distribution of assets
  • Conditions for property disbursement

Now, for things not included in wills. Most people have various financial accounts, retirement funds, life insurance policies and jointly owned properties. All of these things do not need to be included in wills. Why? Because, with all of these assets, beneficiaries are named directly to the accounts, or -- with jointly owned properties, when one owner dies -- the other gains full control.

A will really does accomplish a lot as far as providing information to beneficiaries following one's death, but by itself it is not likely to cover everything. There are other estate planning documents that may be required in order to ensure loved ones and assets are fully protected. Michigan residents can seek the assistance of legal counsel in order to create wills and prepare all other estate planning documents that truly fit their needs. By asking for help, it is possible to make sure that wills only contain the information that they need and nothing they do not, as well as ensure all other necessary documents are completed and ready to go.

Source: FindLaw, "What Not To Include When Making a Will", March 22, 2017