Ever considered writing your own will? While you can draft a will on your own, there are plenty of reasons why you may not want to go that route. Most people do it to save money, but they may overlook or forget to take care of some important details – details that could eventually cost them much more than the amount they could save. Some of the biggest mistakes include:
Ignoring state law differences. Will kits and online wills may not always take state laws regarding the administration of probate into account. An estate planning attorney can inform you of these state laws; a will kit or website may not.
Not revoking an earlier will. Many wills contain boilerplate language that automatically revokes any preceding will. If you are writing your will totally on your own (some people still do), you may not realize the necessity of such a clause.
Assumptions. If you will property to an heir, what happens if you outlive that heir? What if you will an asset to a friend or relative today and that asset is gone when your will is executed someday? These are important things to contemplate; things that most people who write their own wills have not considered.
Vagueness. Sometimes executors are not given enough power by the language of a will. Sometimes a home will be left to a spouse, but with no one assigned to pay for upkeep of the home during the rest of that widow’s lifetime. Alternate executors are sometimes omitted from wills, and names of nonprofit groups can easily be misstated or misspelled, inviting complication and possible dispute of charitable intent.
Keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice. You may want to consider consulting a legal professional before making any changes to your estate strategy. Fortunately, many financial professionals have relationships with attorneys. Instead of searching the Internet or the Yellow Pages for a stranger, ask for a referral from the financial professional you consult.
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Ted de Groot
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite, LLC, is not affiliated with the named representative, broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.