There are some things you should not try to use a will to do. Don’t make arrangements in your will for any assets that will be left to heirs in another way. The most common example is money in a payable-on-death account. Other assets that aren’t passed by will include life insurance proceeds, property in a living trust, and joint tenancy assets.
You should also avoid leaving any funeral instructions in a will. This is because a will is usually not found or read until weeks after death. Instructions in your will are unlikely to help the people who will make funeral plans. A better option is a separate document that explains your funeral wishes. Be sure you tell the executor of your will where to find this document.
Estate planning as a whole can be used to reduce or even eliminate estate taxes and other expenses. Still, a will cannot help you avoid taxes. Instead, an attorney for wills and trusts can help you set up trusts and other solutions to reduce or postpone taxes.
A will lawyer will also advise against putting any conditions on your gifts. This includes gifting money to a child on the condition they graduate college or marry. This type of setup can open a can of worms. After all, who will enforce the conditions of the gift? For how long must these conditions be enforced? You are also legally limited in what you can do with a will.