According to Gallup, less than half of Americans have a will.
Drafting a will can help ensure that your inheritors distribute your assets in accordance with your wishes after your passing. However, you should proceed with caution and avoid common mistakes that could lead to complications.
Using vague language
When you write a will, clarity and precision in your language are of the utmost importance. Using ambiguous terms or vague phrases can lead to confusion and potential legal disputes.
For example, instead of stating, “I leave my house to my eldest child,” be specific by including full names of beneficiaries and providing accurate descriptions of properties. This leaves no room for misinterpretation, helping your executor to distribute your assets as intended.
Forgetting to update your will
Life is dynamic, and circumstances change over time. Failing to update your will to reflect these changes can lead to unintended consequences.
For instance, if you name a sibling as a beneficiary and they pass away before you, the inheritance might go to their heirs if your will is not updated. Major life events like marriage, divorce or the birth of children should prompt a review of your will. Regularly revisiting and making necessary adjustments ensure that your wishes align with your current situation.
Not appointing an executor
The executor of your will plays a key role in carrying out your wishes. This person handles the distribution of your assets, pays debts and fulfills other administrative tasks.
Failing to appoint an executor can lead to confusion and delays in the probate process. Choose someone you trust and who is willing to take on this responsibility. Communicate with them beforehand to ensure they understand their role and are willing to carry out your wishes.
Taking the time to avoid these common mistakes provides you with peace of mind, knowing that after your passing your executor and inheritors will respect your wishes concerning your estate.