Five Common Mistakes When Creating A Will
Having a last will and testament is vitally important. It is one of the most basic types of estate planning documents and can help to protect you, your loved ones, and their rights to inherit. However, even if you have taken the time to create this document in the past, beware of the following common mistakes which could make your will incomplete or in a worst case scenario, invalid when presented in court.
Avoid Making These Common Estate Planning Mistakes
Creating a will is an important task and one that should not be put off. In the event of your death, it provides instructions for your loved ones, details the property and assets you possess, and designates those you want to inherit from your estate. Unfortunately, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) reports that roughly six out of every ten adults do not have a will in place. Among those that do, errors and omitted items can render it useless. As experienced New York estate planning attorneys, the most common mistakes we see clients make in creating a will include:
- Not listing all your assets.
Your will should provide a complete inventory of all the property and assets you possess. This includes real estate, cars, personal belongings, and financial accounts. It also includes other important items which are considered assets, such as intellectual property, and online accounts or webpages. Make sure to carefully detail these items while providing account information and passwords as needed.
- Ignoring heirs or leaving out beneficiaries.
Even if you are leaving the bulk of your estate to a spouse or children, make sure this is detailed in your will. If you leave anyone out, mention them by name and why you are disinheriting them. Otherwise, they may have grounds to contest your will.
- Having people you know act as witnesses.
One of the most common mistakes people make when creating a will on their own is having people they know or are related to act as witnesses. This can make your will invalid, subjecting your loved ones to time consuming and costly probate court proceedings.
- Not updating your will regularly.
You should meet with your attorney as needed to ensure your will is updated regularly and reflects any changes in assets or property you possess. It should also reflect changes in personal situations, such as births, deaths, or divorces.
- Planning only for death.
Your will makes sure those you love are provided for in the event of your death and makes the probate process easier for them. However, be sure to include estate planning documents which can protect you and them during your life as well. These include trusts, living wills, and powers of attorney documents.
Let Us Help You Today
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we can help ensure you and your loved ones are protected by helping you put the proper legal documents in place. Call or contact our Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys online and request a consultation in our office today.