Things You Cannot Include in Your Virginia Estate Plan
Wills are legal documents that one must draft with careful consideration. When preparing a Virginia Estate plan or will, one must follow all the probate process laws and rules. While certain things are mandatory in a Virginia will, one must refrain from including some section. Adding unwanted elements to your will can either complicate the probate process or make it invalid. Consulting an estate and probate lawyer for drafting Virginia’s estate will is the best way to prevent legal complications. Hiring a qualified estate lawyer also comes handy in handling family disputes over the estate.
In this blog, let’s find out what you can’t put in your will as per the codes of Virginia Estate Plan.
- You can’t escape probate.
After a person passes away, their estate has to go through the probate process. The probate process ensures that the estate smoothly passes to the surviving heirs as per the will. If a person has a properly documented will, the estate will go to the heirs according to the will’s provisions. In case a person doesn’t have a will, the estate will pass on to the heirs according to the ‘intestate succession’ stated in the Virginia Code. If you wish any asset or property to not go through the probate, you can include those items in a trust.
- You can’t leave the property you don’t own or jointly own to another person.
A will is basically a legal document that dictates how the estate will be managed and distributed and who shall get what part of the estate. You can only include those properties and assets that you own. You cannot leave these assets that you co-own with another person.
One can’t include pay-on-death accounts like pensions, life insurance, or retirement accounts in your will. Similarly, any properties like house or share bank accounts are also exempt from the will.
Since such assets get transferred to the surviving member, you no longer own such assets and cannot include them in the provision of your Virginia estate plan.
- You cannot include your digital assets in your will.
In today’s highly digitized world, it’s common for people to own virtual properties. Highly valuable digital accounts, game libraries, music, and digital photos are part of virtual properties. Such online assets are subjected to the terms of services provided by the service provider.
However, if you own any intellectual property like an app, website, or software, it will be considered a part of your estate. You can pass on such assets as long as no agreements prohibit the transfer.
- You cannot leave gifts to your pets.
In most U.S. states, pets are counted as property. However, you can’t include any section in your will that states your estate’s transfer to your pets. Since pets can’t legally own any property, doing so can render your will invalid. Instead, your probate law firms can help you prepare Virginia pet trust to ensure your pet is adequately taken care of after your passing.