Lidia Law Firm, P.C.
Estate Planning & Business Law

Are there limits on what you can put in a will?

Making out a will in Oklahoma is a smart way to express your wishes to your surviving relatives as to how you would like them to handle your estate after your death. However, just because you want your property handled in a particular way does not make it legal or possible to do so. As with most legal matters, there are rules and norms that govern what you can and cannot include in your will. 

For example, according to FindLaw, you cannot leave money or gifts for illegal purposes. It may seem obvious, but attempting to do so invalidates the will. Other rules are slightly less straightforward, and what follows are some guidelines about how you can and cannot handle certain matters in your will.

Pets

You can name someone in your will to care for your pet(s) after you pass on, but you cannot name your pet as a beneficiary in your will because animals lack the legal capacity to own property. You could also set up a trust to provide for the care of your pet, but this is not necessary in most cases. 

Conditions on bequests

In some cases, you can put conditions on the gifts you leave to others in your will stipulating that the recipient must use the gift in a particular way or encouraging the beneficiary to accomplish a specific goal before he or she can receive the gift. Before you make conditions, however, think about the time and expense involved in enforcing them, which may complicate matters. Also be aware that some conditions, such as those involving conversion to a different religion, marriage or divorce, are illegal to include in a will.

Dependent with special needs

If you need to provide for the care of a disabled person, set up a special needs trust for them rather than making arrangements in your will.

Funeral instructions

After you die, your funeral arrangements will probably be the first matter that your loved ones deal with, while probate proceedings and settling the estate usually will not happen until after the memorial service takes place. Therefore, if you have specific instructions for your funeral, write these up in a separate document and talk about them with your loved ones beforehand. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

 

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