Common Mistakes To Avoid When Drafting Your Will

Drafting a will is a critical step in managing your affairs and ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. However, the process of creating this important document can be fraught with potential missteps. Awareness of these common mistakes can help you craft a clear, comprehensive, and legally sound will that accurately reflects your intentions.

Procrastinating on Creating a Will

One of the biggest mistakes is simply not having a will. Many people put off writing a will due to discomfort around discussing death or the belief that it’s unnecessary until later in life. Regardless of your age or health status, having a will is crucial for protecting your loved ones and your assets.

Failing to Update Your Will Regularly

Creating a will is not a one-time event. Major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, or the acquisition or sale of significant assets, should prompt a review and update of your will to ensure it remains current.

Overlooking Important Assets

According to the St. Louis wills lawyers at TdD Law, you must be thorough when listing your assets. Neglecting to include certain items or accounts can lead to confusion and potential disputes among beneficiaries. Additionally, some assets like life insurance policies or retirement accounts are passed down outside of the will through designated beneficiaries, so keep those selections current.

Appointing a Single Executor Without Alternates

The executor of your will should be someone you trust to carry out your final wishes. However, appointing only one person without an alternate can cause issues if your chosen executor is unable or unwilling to serve. Always select at least one backup.

Not Appointing Alternate Beneficiaries

Similarly, it’s essential to designate alternate beneficiaries in case your primary beneficiaries predecease you. Otherwise, the disposition of your assets if the primary beneficiaries are not available could be left to the courts.

Vague or Ambiguous Language

Your will should be clear and straightforward to avoid misinterpretation. Ambiguities in language can lead to contested wills, delays, and the potential for a court to make decisions that may not align with your intentions. Consult with a legal professional to ensure clarity.

Choosing the Wrong Guardian for Minor Children

For parents, appointing a guardian for minor children is a paramount decision. Consider not only the guardians’ values and parenting style but also their ability and willingness to take on this responsibility. Discuss your decision with them beforehand to ensure they are prepared to accept the role.

Not Considering Digital Assets

In the digital age, it’s important to include online accounts and digital assets like photographs, videos, or domain names in your will. Specify how you want these assets to be managed and who should have access to them.

Forgetting to Sign or Witness the Will Correctly

A will typically needs to be signed in the presence of witnesses to be legally valid. The requirements can vary depending on your location, so be sure to follow the rules of your jurisdiction to avoid a will deemed invalid because it was not properly executed.

Creating a will is a significant step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can draft a clear and effective will that leaves no doubt about your final wishes. Regular reviews with a legal advisor can help ensure that your will is updated to reflect your current circumstances and assets, providing peace of mind for both you and your beneficiaries. Remember, a well-crafted will is the final testament to your life’s work and care for your loved ones, so it’s worth dedicating the time and resources to get it right.

We are not lawyers and this is in no way intended to be used as legal advice . We cannot be held responsible for your results. Always do your own research and seek professional legal help.

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