Things That Wills Cannot Address

Although wills drafted online are created to address wide issues upon your death, there are some things they cannot cover. Here are some common things that people include in their will but cannot be accomplished because of practicality or legal issues.

Funeral Instructions – it is quite common for people to include funeral instructions in their will done online, but wills are usually found days or weeks after a person dies. By that time, it is too late for your relatives who must make immediate decisions about the disposition of a body and funeral or memorial services

On the legal side of things, you cannot use a will for

  1. Money in pension plans, IRA, 401(k) plan, or other retirement plan. These have special beneficiary forms provided by the account administrator
  2. Property you hold in joint tenancy with someone else or with “right of survivorship clause” with your spouse. At your death, your share automatically belongs to the surviving co-owner. A provision in your will would have no effect unless all co-owners died at the same time
  3. Property that has been transferred to a living trust
  4. Proceeds from life insurance policies which you have named a beneficiary
  5. Stocks or bonds held in beneficiary (transfer-on-death or TOD) form.

These points are important to note when you do write your will online because you may think you are leaving an asset to person A, but due to an earlier beneficiary being nominated, the asset  went to another person. This could result in important family members losing a significant amount of money if you are not careful.

To prevent such common errors, it is best to list down all such accounts (IRAs, 401k, joint tenancy property) and note the beneficial interest in each item when you are collecting the information before your start drafting your will online. That way, you know exactly where everything is going.

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