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9 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will

A will is a formal legal document that allows you to choose what will happen to all your possessions and valuable assets when you die. It gives you significant control over who receives your money, estate, and belongings. However, it is a very crucial document that must be drafted with care to ensure your final wishes are executed as intended. Here are 9 common mistakes to avoid when writing a will:

1. Not Seeking Professional Help

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to write their own will without seeking the help of a qualified estate planning attorney. A lawyer can ensure that your will is legally valid and that your wishes are clearly stated.

2. Not Updating the Will Regularly

Life circumstances change, such as marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and financial situations. Failing to update your will to reflect these changes can lead to unintended consequences.

3. Not Being Specific Enough

Vague language or ambiguous terms in a will can lead to confusion and disputes among family members. Be as specific as possible when outlining your wishes.

Digital Assets

4. Forgetting to Include Digital Assets

In today’s digital age, it’s important to consider your digital assets, such as online accounts, social media profiles, and cryptocurrencies, in your will. Failing to account for these assets can lead to them being overlooked or inaccessible to your beneficiaries.

Clearly outline how you want your digital assets to be handled, whether it’s transferring ownership, deleting accounts, or providing access to important information. Ensure that your executor has the necessary details to manage your digital presence according to your wishes.

formal legal documen

5. Naming an Inappropriate Executor

Choosing the wrong person to execute your will can lead to delays, conflicts, or mishandling of your estate. Select someone trustworthy, organized, and capable of carrying out your wishes.

6. Not Addressing Guardianship for Minor Children

If you have minor children, failing to designate a guardian in your will can leave their care and custody up to the courts. Be sure to name a guardian you trust to raise your children in the event of your passing.

7. Overlooking Beneficiary Designations

Some assets, such as retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and bank accounts, pass directly to beneficiaries outside of a will. Make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date and align with your overall estate plan.

Writing a Will

8. Not Considering Estate Taxes

Depending on the size of your estate, estate taxes may apply. Failure to plan for these taxes could result in higher tax liabilities for your heirs. Consult with a tax professional or estate planning attorney to minimize the impact of estate taxes.

9. Failing to Communicate Your Wishes

Once your will is finalized, it’s essential to communicate its contents to your loved ones. This can help prevent misunderstandings, conflicts, and challenges to your will after you pass away.