The purpose of writing a will is to express your wishes to your loved ones, as well as the probate court that will handle your estate. That way, they do not have to guess at what you might have wanted after you die.
It is not only important that you write your will but that you do so correctly. In our experience, mistakes in a will are confusing for everyone and make it vulnerable to challenges. Kiplinger addresses several will mistakes that you should avoid.
- Executing the will incorrectly
Executing the will basically means signing it. It is important that you do this in the presence of two witnesses. These should not be people who stand to benefit from your will but disinterested parties. Your witnesses must then also sign their names legibly.
- Making a poor choice of executor
The executor is the person in charge of acting on your behalf to carry out your wishes as expressed in the will. You should designate at least two executors in your will in case one is unable or unwilling to serve. Otherwise, the court will have to appoint someone to administer the estate, and that can take a long time. However, do not choose too many executors to serve at once. This is inefficient and can lead to disagreements among them.
- Leaving funds to minor beneficiaries
Children under the age of 18 are not responsible enough to handle money on their own. Instead of leaving money to them directly, you can either create a trust that will distribute the funds to them gradually or leave the bequest to a Uniform Transfers to Minors Account. Both options give you the right to name your own caretaker for the money. Otherwise, the court will have to appoint a custodian, and you will not have a say in the choice.