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7 Things To Avoid Putting In Your Will

Some things might seem okay to put in a will, but in reality, are better left off the document.

By Austin Payne


Published 7.9.2024

We've seen it countless times — from funeral arrangements and organ donations to gifting assets held in a company, some provisions simply don’t make sense to put in your last will and testament. 

Here are seven things that might seem okay to add to your last will and testament but are actually better off avoiding. 

1. Funeral Arrangements

The last will and testament tend to be reviewed weeks after someone dies. When a person passes away, you may have already set up the funeral arrangements and had a beautiful ceremony, only to find out later that the loved one’s last will and testament specified something completely different. As you can imagine, this is not the best situation to be in, and it happens more often than you might think.

2. Organ Donation

We encourage everyone to be an organ donor. In fact, according to, thousands of lives are saved through organ donation each year. That said, there is a proper way to document being an organ donor, and doing that in your last will and testament is not the right way. This belongs in your health directive documents. Learn more about organ donation or how to become an organ donor at

3. Designating IRA (Individual Retirement Account)

Make sure you designate beneficiaries directly on your IRA, as it will override your will. For example, Paul wants to leave his IRA to his child, Fred. However, 25 years earlier, when Paul set up his IRA account, he designated his daughter, Darla, to receive the IRA. Who now gets the IRA? Darla. Make sure you designate beneficiaries on your IRA and not in your will.

4. Life Support Decisions

Many individuals and families face this very tough situation. We often hear people say, “If I’m in a vegetative state, I do not want my family to suffer; please make that known and respect my wishes.” This type of request belongs in the living will declaration, not your last will and testament.

5. Limited Liability Company (LLC) Assets

This can get tricky. For example, let’s say you own a couple of rental properties in an LLC to avoid any personal liability for the debts of the LLC. In your will, you request that Property X go to one child and Property Y go to another. What’s the problem? It’s your membership interest in the LLC that will pass to others, but individual assets held within the LLC do not change hands as part of the typical estate settlement process.

6. The “Reasons Why” You Left A Bequest

We write this from experience: do you want to keep the peace in the family? Keep the reasons why you left something to someone for their eyes only. Writing “I leave $5,000 to my child, Elsa” is much better read-aloud than a novel explaining why you left that $5,000 to your middle child, Elsa, and not the other kids in the family.

A separate communication with your message to the individual explaining why you left them a specific asset is best. Why? This will be read aloud in front of friends and family and sometimes publicly in the courtroom.

7. Life Insurance & Annuities

Similar to IRA beneficiaries, whoever you designate in your life insurance and annuities as your beneficiaries will override whoever you’ve added to your will.

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