Three Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Will
A will is a legal document that describes how a person's assets will be distributed after death. It is an essential tool for ensuring that one's wishes are followed and that assets are distributed per those wishes. Unfortunately, many people make common mistakes when writing their wills, leading to confusion, conflict and even legal challenges. Here are some common issues to look out for when writing wills.
Failing to Update the Will
One of the most common mistakes people make when writing a will is failing to update it regularly. A will should be reviewed and updated after significant life events, such as marriage, divorce, childbirth or a beneficiary's death. Failing to update a will can cause unintended consequences, such as assets going to the wrong people or a dispute among family members.
For example, imagine a person creating a will that leaves all their assets to their spouse. However, they later divorce and remarry but do not update their will. If they were to die, their assets would still go to their ex-spouse rather than their new spouse or children from their second marriage. To avoid this type of situation, it is essential to regularly review and update a will to ensure that it reflects one's current wishes.
Not Naming an Executor
Another common mistake is failing to name an executor. An executor is responsible for managing the distribution of assets and ensuring that the wishes expressed in the will are carried out. Without an executor, managing the distribution of assets can be challenging, which can lead to conflict among family members.
When choosing an executor, selecting someone trustworthy, reliable and capable of managing the estate is crucial. It may also be helpful to choose someone who is not a beneficiary of the will, as this can help to avoid conflicts of interest.
Using Ambiguous Language
Clear and precise language is critical when writing a will. Using ambiguous language can lead to confusion and may even result in the will being challenged in court. For example, using phrases such as "personal property" or "money" can be interpreted differently by various people.
To avoid this type of ambiguity, using specific language when describing assets and beneficiaries is essential. For example, instead of using the phrase "personal property," it would be better to list out specific items, such as "jewellery" or "car." Similarly, it is essential to name specific beneficiaries rather than using generic terms such as "children."
Finally, writing a will is an important responsibility that should not be taken lightly. By avoiding these common mistakes, individuals can help to ensure that their assets are distributed accordingly. Working with a qualified attorney or financial advisor is vital to create a will that is clear, concise and reflective of one's current wishes. With careful planning and attention to detail, individuals can help avoid conflict and ensure that their loved ones are cared for after their death.