Having a will is the best way to make certain that your final wishes are followed upon your death. It is important to have everything in place as soon as possible so that you can rest assured that your assets will be distributed just as you intend them to be.
Four Common Mistakes Made in Wills
When it comes to drafting a will, make sure you avoid these predictable, but entirely preventable, mistakes:
Mistake #1: Forgetting to update your will.
They say that the only constant in life is change. Divorce, the birth of a child, the start of a business – these are all things that will have an impact on your assets and will therefore affect how things will be distributed after you die. Every time you experience a major life change, you must take a look at your will and make sure it reflects every detail of your life accurately. Failure to do so could result in unintended inheritances and leave your estate in a giant mess.
Mistake #2: Forgetting about the IRS.
Don’t forget about estate taxes! One of the most common mistakes people make when drafting their will is assuming that their estate is not worth enough to be considered by the estate tax system. Remember that life insurance, trusts, and retirement plans may be included among your assets for tax purposes.
Mistake #3: Forgetting to appoint an executor.
The executor of your will is the person who administers the distribution of your assets. Choose wisely. If for some reason the person you originally chose can no longer serve as the executor, make sure you choose someone else.
Mistake #4: Not specifying beneficiaries.
As people come in and out of your life, make sure you are updating your will in regards to inheritance. If you are intentionally leaving someone out of your will or distributing assets in an unusual way, make sure to include your reasons in order to prevent challenges after your passing. It’s also important that you make sure the beneficiaries on your insurance policies, particularly life insurance, are up-to-date and match your will’s distribution of assets.
Do you have questions regarding the creation and maintenance of your will? You are not alone. Nearly half of respondents in a recent poll said that they are very or somewhat likely to consult a website where consumers can post legal questions for lawyers to answer, and 44 percent responded that they are likely to check a lawyer’s website. Fortunately, just over half of lawyers in solo practices and 81 percent of those in offices have their own websites.
The best way to avoid these common mistakes? Get a qualified estate planning attorney. Although many folks are persuaded to try a DIY will software or kit because they’re less expensive, if you make a mistake, it can cost you and your family much more in the long run.
Having a qualified attorney do your will or trust and powers of attorney doesn’t have to be expensive! That’s why Texas Legal exists. For as little as $10 a month, you can become a member and get your will or trust, powers of attorney and living will all done by an expert attorney for free. Learn more about our group plans and independent plans.