Everyone should have a will; no matter how many assets you have or how much you think they are worth, a last will is essential in the estate planning process. However, writing up a will is not as easy as it seems, and there are many times that unforeseen errors could cause trouble during the already lengthy and expensive probate process for your family. As you start to write up your will, take the time with an estate planning attorney to ensure you don’t have these common holes in your documents. This will not only protect your assets but also provide you with the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out as you intended. 

It’s Out of Date or Not Dated at All

Writing a last will when you are 30 is a great idea. There is no such thing as starting too early. However, you must remember to keep it updated as life can change on a dime, and your assets, wealth, and family can shift in a matter of years. It is wise to update your will on a yearly basis to ensure you are not missing crucial assets and people you want included in your wishes. If assets are missing from your will, it could lead them to be distributed by the state or contested by your beneficiaries. 

Additionally, if the will does not have a date, it could cause confusion in the court, especially if multiple wills are brought to the judge. It can make it challenging to understand which will to decide on. You want to stay up-to-date and organized. 

The Mental State Is Not Given

A will is only valid if the person writing it is of sound mind. This must be stated on the will and signed off on by you and your attorney. If this is not there, it could call into question your state of mind and wellness when you wrote it. Even when writing it with an attorney, this signature is essential as that means more than an eyewitness account in court. If this signature is not there, the will can be contested by your beneficiaries or simply not seen by the judge. 

Names Are Incorrect or Not Fully Written 

One of the most important things to remember when writing a will is to have full legal names written when referring to executors, beneficiaries, or anyone else you involve in your will. It can be easy to slip up and write “Jim” instead of “James,” but you must be sure you are writing their legal name. If you write a nickname, it could take several witnesses to help back up who you are referring to, and the judge might still shut it down. You don’t want someone to challenge your will because you wrote your sibling’s nickname rather than their full legal name. 

Executors Are Not Named 

While it seems like an obvious step, an executor will often be forgotten. This person will be responsible for ensuring your will is read and carried out to your wishes. It can be an attorney, family member, friend, child, spouse, or anyone else that you explicitly trust to fulfill this position. However, this step is often missed in the chaos of ensuring everything else is properly accounted for. Without this, it can be difficult to be sure your wishes will be upheld and your will is properly read. 

It Is Not Specific Enough

Lastly, a major mistake when writing a will is being too vague. Without specific terms and conditions for each of your assets, beneficiaries have room to challenge your will. A will is your chance to ensure your assets go to the right person on your terms, so when you write it, make sure you are specific and detailed with your wishes. 

All of these common holes can lead to beneficiaries challenging your will, causing probate only to get longer, more expensive, and more complicated for those involved. If you want to avoid these, it is wise to seek an attorney to assist in writing your will. If you have further questions or wish to speak with an attorney about your will and estate, contact the team at Hartmann Law.