What a Will Doesn't Cover

Wills can help ease many estate planning issues, but they do not cover everything.

Here are some exceptions that your will won't cover.

Certain Types of Property

  • If you hold property in "joint tenancy" with someone else, that property will become the surviving co-owner's after your passing. You cannot leave your share to someone else (unless all co-owners pass simultaneously).
  • If you transferred property to a living trust, you cannot use your will to leave it to someone else.
  • Proceeds from a life insurance policy, stocks, pension plan, retirement plan, etc... if you've already named a beneficiary.

Funeral Instructions

If you want to ease the burden of your passing, make a different document to spell out your wishes. Wills are typically not read or even found until days or weeks after a death.


You cannot leave gifts that are contingent on the marriage, divorce, or change of religion of a recipient.

Caring for a Beneficiary with Special Needs

Providing for long term care should be done in a trust, not a will.