Estate Planning Isn’t Just For The Elderly

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7 last will and testament errors to avoid

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Blog, Wills & Trusts

When it comes to planning for the future, creating a will is an important step that many people overlook. After you’re gone, a will can convey your wishes to your family and friends. A carefully crafted will ensures the appropriate disbursement of your estate.

The process of drafting a will is not complex, but there are several common mistakes that can create problems. Avoiding these errors is important to protect your intentions and ensure the effectiveness of your will.

1. Procrastination

Fewer than half of the adults in the U.S. have a last will and testament. Putting off the creation of your will is a mistake. Waiting too long can lead to complications, like deteriorating health or unexpected events. Start planning your will sooner rather than later to secure your assets and protect your loved ones.

2. Lack of clarity

Ambiguity in your will can lead to disputes and confusion. Ensure that your wishes are precise. Avoid using vague language or making assumptions about distribution of assets. Clearly outline your intentions to prevent any potential conflicts.

3. Failure to update

Your will should reflect life’s changes. Update your will for marriage, divorce or family growth. Regularly review your final documents to align with current circumstances and desires.

4. Focus on equality

A common mistake is assuming that dividing your assets equally among beneficiaries is the fairest option. In reality, fairness may involve distributing assets based on individual needs and circumstances. Consider the unique situations of your heirs and make equitable decisions.

5. No beneficiaries

Assets like retirement accounts, life insurance policies and bank accounts often allow for beneficiary designations. Failing to update these designations can result in assets going to unintended recipients. Be vigilant in ensuring that beneficiary designations align with your wishes.

6. No care for kids

If you have minor children, it’s essential to appoint a guardian in your will. Failing to do so can lead to disputes and uncertainty regarding their care. Select a trusted individual to provide a stable, loving environment for your children.

7. Lack of signatures

A will is not legally valid without proper execution. Sign the document in the presence of witnesses who are not beneficiaries. Have all signatures notarized if required by your jurisdiction. Skipping these steps can render your will invalid.

Crafting a will is a significant responsibility that requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Don’t procrastinate, be clear and specific, update your will regularly, and consider the unique circumstances of your beneficiaries to create a will that truly reflects your desires and values.