Three Mistakes to Correct In Your Will
Drawing up a last will and testament plays a fundamental role in even the most uncomplicated of estate plans. It can help avoid time consuming and costly probate hearings while ensuring your loved ones are taken care of and that any property or assets are distributed according to your wishes. However, for a will to be useful it must be legally valid and thorough in attending to detail. To ensure you are protected, the following are three common mistakes to be alert to:
- Failing to include all property and assets.
In the event of your passing, any property and assets you possess must go through the New York City Probate Court. Having a will in place acts as a guide in these proceedings. Without one, the rules of intestate succession apply, which typically distributes first to spouses, followed by children, then onto heirs such as siblings, nieces and nephews, and other more distant relatives.
Having a will ensures your estate passes to the people you select, but it is vitally important to make sure that it includes all the property and assets you possess. If you have made major purchases in recent years, such as real estate, cars, or antiques, you will need to amend your will to include these items. This goes for any investments or financial accounts you may have recently opened.
- Not choosing the right person to act as the executor of your estate.
In creating a will, you will need to name an executor. This person has a fiduciary duty to ensure the estate is settled properly and that property and assets are distributed among designated beneficiaries. This can be a complex task, particularly if you own a business or have property and debts in other states. You want to be sure the person you select is up to the task.
While people commonly choose close relatives for this role, such as a spouse or child, it is important to acknowledge the added burden it places on them during this time. In some situations, it may be better to choose another family member or a trusted advisor. In addition to being better equipped to handle complicated financial matters, choosing someone not so closely related can allow your family the time and space they need to grieve.
- Not updating your will to include changes in your family.
If your will is more than a year or two old or if you have had recent, major life events occur in your family, you need to make an appointment with an estate planning attorney to update your will accordingly. Events that necessitate changes include births, deaths, marriages, divorces, adoptions, and younger children turning 18.
Contact Us Today for Help
A will is one of the most important legal documents you can have, and it needs to be updated regularly. For guidance in creating a will or making sure an existing one is legally valid, contact Cavallo & Cavallo to request a consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys in our Bronx or Westchester office today.