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Common Will Writing Blunders
No one likes to think about death. However, it is an eventuality for all of us and, therefore, we need to make sure that all of our loved ones are cared for should we pass before them. This is why everyone needs to write a will. It does not matter how old you are, how healthy you are, or how much money you have in the bank, you need to write a will so that all of your belongings and assets will be divided in the way you want them to be. Otherwise, there is no telling who could end up with your things! So, with that being said, read on to discover more about some of the common will writing blunders people make, so that you can avoid making them.
Disinheriting without a reason – A lot of people do not realise that it is important to leave a reason when you are disinheriting someone. Of course, it is your money, and you can do whatever you want with it, including leaving a dependent out of the will. So, what is the problem? Well, if you do not leave a reason and do not explain where you would like the money to go, the dependent could contest your decision. This is something that has happened before with success.
Excluding your step-children – It is important to be aware of the fact that when you mention “my children” when writing your will, this does not automatically mean that any foster children or stepchildren are going to be included. This is the case even if you have raised the children to be your own, and you consider them this way. To ensure there is no potential for confusion, you should be explicit about any foster children or step-kids benefiting your will.
Trying to do it yourself – There is no denying that this is one of the biggest mistakes that people make today. It is understandable. You don’t want to spend money on a solicitor. However, you could end up costing yourself and your family way more money if the will is not put together properly. This is why you need wills and probate solicitors to handle everything for you. Furthermore, a lot of people try to do their will themselves because they assume it will be really easy. After all, it is just a piece of paper! However, what they do not realise is that one little mistake could render their will invalid or it could lead it to having consequences that they never intended. This is why it is so important to have an expert in your corner who can ensure everything is handled properly.
Not putting together a new will after having a child or getting married – A lot of people do not realise that their existing will is going to be invalid from the moment they get married. If you were to die without creating a new will, under the intestacy rules, your partner would receive at least half of your estate. In some cases, they can even be left with all of it. This could end up disadvantaging your children, which is why it is so important to put a new will together.
Forgetting to name an executor – Another mistake you need to avoid is forgetting to name an executor. When you pass away, you are going to need someone to deal with the administration of your estate in accordance with your wishes. This person is the executor. Nevertheless, a lot of people forget to name this person in their will. When this happens, someone will be appointed executor by the probate court, making it very likely you will end up with someone who was not your first choice. It is also important to point out that you can have more than one executor.
Forgetting about assets that are intangible – In addition to the blunders that have already been mentioned, another mistake we often see is people forgetting about their intangible assets. These assets include things like shares, premium bonds, and bank accounts. You may even be able to pass on loyalty points or air miles if you have collated a large number. In some cases, it can even be worth incorporating your electronic assets, for example, your music collections or digital photo albums.
Asking a partner or child to be a witness – Last but not least, you will need to appoint a witness. A lot of people make the mistake of choosing their children or partner. Why is this bad? Well, witnesses are not allowed to benefit from the will in any shape or form.
As you can see, there are a number of different mistakes people make when it comes to writing wills today. However, if you can avoid all of the blunders that have been discussed, you can give yourself the best chance of making sure your estate is divided exactly how you want it to be when you are not here. Plus, for parents, a will is even more important, as you will detail who you want to look after your children if you are no longer here. So, with that being said, it is quite clear to see the importance of writing a will and why you need to make sure it is put together properly. Avoid the blunders that have been discussed above and you have an excellent starting point.