A will is an essential part of your estate plan. It documents how you want your estate to be distributed and your final wishes and requests. Despite the important role this document will play in you and your loved one's futures, many of them have mistakes.
Mistakes can significantly impact the effectiveness of your will. Your will should be written in a way that is easy to understand and interpret. This will allow your executor and your loved ones to trust that everything is being handled according to your wishes.
You need to be aware of the most common mistakes made when writing a will to protect your and your family. Some of the most common types of mistakes are:
- Handwritten will: you should type your will to make sure everything is legible and legally recognized.
- Failure to follow state law: be sure your will follow state law regarding validity and construction so your wishes can be honored.
- Failure to include a living will: A living will lets your loved ones know your medical care preferences in case you become incapacitated or have a medical emergency. Not having a living will can create a lot of tension and questioning for your loved ones.
- Failure to include your business: you need to include what should happen to your business in your will, as well as a plan for how business interests should be addressed.
- Failure to revise your will: your will needs to be revised after major life events and reviewed every few years to ensure it is up-to-date.
- Include items not needed in your will: this includes putting your funeral plans, illegal requests, and financial plans in your will.
The worst mistake you can make it not having a will. However, making these common mistakes can virtually make your will invalid in some cases. To prevent these mistakes, and others, in your will, consider working with an estate planning attorney to draft and review your will.
Source: FindLaw, "10 Common Mistakes When Drafting a Will," Christopher Coble, Nov. 4, 2015