19 Huge Mistakes People Make When Preparing Their Will

Making a will ensures that your loved ones are looked after and that your last wishes are met respectfully and efficiently. By taking the time to ensure your will is correct and takes all potential factors into account, you’ll avoid conflict or mistakes. Here is a list of 19 common errors people make when writing their will.

Not Consulting a Professional

Photo Credit: sirtravelalot/Shutterstock.

Although it might be an added expense, seeking professional legal advice will allow you to ensure your will is valid and accurately reflects your wishes. A professional will also be able to ensure you’ve covered all bases, especially for a complex family situation or a significant estate.

Failing to Update Regularly

Photo Credit: Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.

It’s important to review your will every few years, or after each significant life change such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or changes in assets. According to Mark Reynolds Solicitors, “an outdated will could cause lots of complications for your loved ones when you die. For example, it can cause them to receive less than intended and possibly [pay] more inheritance tax.”

Ignoring Tax Implications

Photo Credit: Deemerwha studio/Shutterstock.

The types of bequests in your will can have varying tax consequences for your beneficiaries and loved ones. By working with a professional, you’ll be able to help minimize these tax burdens with a strategic plan that considers state and federal estate tax laws.

Not Clearly Defining Bequests

Photo Credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock.

It is important to ensure all of your bequests are specific and detailed to prevent misunderstandings and ensure each beneficiary receives the intended portion. By including clear descriptions and instructions, you’ll help alleviate potential disputes among heirs.

Forgetting Digital Assets

Photo Credit: TY Lim/Shutterstock.

In modern estate planning, it is important to include digital assets such as social media accounts, online bank accounts, and digital currencies. You’ll need to ensure these are accessible to allow them to be distributed according to the will.

Overlooking the Selection of an Executor

Photo Credit: wutzkohphoto/Shutterstock.

Choosing someone to manage the distribution of your estate will ensure that your will is fulfilled as per your wishes in a timely and respectful manner. Money Helper says that above all, you should choose someone you trust, but also that “it’s helpful if your executor is good at paperwork and managing legal issues.”

Neglecting Debts and Taxes

Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

It is important that all of your debts and taxes are settled in full before your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries; therefore, you should make provisions in your will to settle these liabilities should it be necessary.

Omitting Funeral Wishes

Photo Credit: ALPA PROD/Shutterstock.

While not legally binding, by outlining your funeral wishes in your will, you’ll help alleviate decision-making burdens from loved ones and most likely have your wishes upheld. Details you could look to include are your preferences around burial or cremation and the type of ceremony you’d like.

Failing to Consider Guardianship for Children

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Appointing a guardian for children will ensure they are cared for by a trusted person if the worst happens to you. When making this decision, it’s important to consider the guardian’s values, parenting style, and your children’s needs. You should also name an alternative guardian should the first choice be unable to take on the responsibility at the time.

Overlooking the Impact on Beneficiaries

Photo Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

Beneficiaries who receive a large sum or asset can be impacted by a change in personal circumstances or government benefits. It’s important to consider this and, where possible, take steps to mitigate any negative impacts. For example, you could look to create trusts.

Not Accounting for Personal Property

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

It is important to consider your personal items, other than money, that hold sentimental value for your family members. To avoid disputes between loved ones, you should consider creating a list of items and their intended recipients.

Overlooking the Need for Witnesses

Photo Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.

There are a lot of legal requirements surrounding the writing of wills, and it’s important to take the correct steps to ensure it’s valid and carried out as you wish. Witnesses are an important part of the process, and Irwin Mitchell says, “A will is not valid unless it is signed by both the testator and two witnesses.”

Lacking Flexibility in the Will

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.

While regularly reviewing your will should help mitigate out-of-date bequests, it is also helpful to include alternative scenarios and contingent beneficiaries in your will. You could consider including clauses that allow the executor some discretion to adapt to unforeseen situations.

Forgetting to Coordinate with Other Estate Planning Documents

Photo Credit: REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock.

It is essential that all of your estate planning documents, including trusts, insurance policies, and retirement accounts, are consistent in detail. By having unmatched details across these documents, you risk leaving behind legal challenges or unintended consequences after your death.

Underestimating the Value of Personal Effects

Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

By underestimating valuable personal items, you can cause disputes or unintended tax consequences for your beneficiaries. It is recommended that you get appraisals for high-value items and regularly review the value of bequests to ensure a fair and reasonable distribution between your loved ones.

Not Planning for Business Succession

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Family-owned businesses can be a source of pride, a much-loved link between relatives, or simply a good source of income. Goughs Solicitors say that effectively planning succession “helps minimize disruptions during leadership transitions, preserves the company’s value, and protects the interests of stakeholders, employees, and customers.”

Disregarding Potential Family Conflicts

Photo Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

Unequal distributions or unspecific instructions can cause potential family conflicts once your will is read. To avoid this, it is important to clearly communicate with your family members to manage their expectations, and consider using trusts or very specific bequests to mitigate misunderstandings.

Failing to Consider the Will’s Accessibility

Photo Credit: EdBockStock/Shutterstock.

Keeping your will in a safe, accessible spot and informing the executor of its location is essential to ensuring your wishes are accurately and correctly met. Speak to a professional to decide where you’d like your will stored, and consider options such as registering it with a court or storage service.

Not Understanding State Laws

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Each state is different when it comes to estate planning laws, and it is important to understand these as they can affect the will’s validity, executor powers, and beneficiary rights. Take time to consult with a local estate planning attorney to ensure the will complies with state regulations.

Read More: 17 Religious Facts People Get Wrong All the Time

Photo Credit: Viorel Sima/Shutterstock.

Religious beliefs and practices are often misunderstood, leading to common misconceptions. Some are just too general, others are downright out there. So, we’ll be correcting 17 widely circulated ‘facts’ about world religions.

17 Religious Facts People Get Wrong All the Time

Why People Aren’t Religious Anymore: 15 Simple Reasons

Photo Credit: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock.

As society evolves, so does our approach to spirituality. This article looks at the subtle yet profound shift from traditional religious adherence to a more personal, evidence-based belief system.

Why People Aren’t Religious Anymore: 15 Simple Reasons

17 American Attractions That Not Even Americans Want to Visit

Photo Credit: Jihan Nafiaa Zahri/Shutterstock.

The United States of America—land of the free, home of the brave, and the location of some of the most ‘unique’ tourist attractions you’ll ever lay eyes on.

Get ready to chuckle, scratch your head, and maybe even facepalm as we look at 17 American attractions that not even Americans think are worth visiting.

17 American Attractions That Not Even Americans Want to Visit

20 Things We Did When We Were Young That We Regret Now

Photo Credit: Kues/Shutterstock.

It’s easy to say hindsight is 20/20, but what advice would you really give your younger self? Here are 20 things that most people did when they were young that they regret today.

20 Things We Did When We Were Young That We Regret Now

17 Things That Used to Be Highly Respected But Isn’t Anymore

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Many things in the world used to be well-respected before turning into complete jokes for various reasons. An internet survey recently asked people, “What is something that was once highly respected but is now a complete joke?” Here are the top 20 answers:

17 Things That Used to Be Highly Respected But Isn’t Anymore